Wondering How To Talk To Your Children During This Time? Here Are Some Tips!

“Kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark”

Rachel Ehmke, Child Mind Institute

During this time of uncertainty, it is extremely important that, as adults, we stay calm. Many of these younger children will not remember the facts and specifics about the coronovairus (COVID-19), but they are watching and observing us and will remember how they felt during this time.

The news of coronavirus is everywhere so don’t be afraid to discuss this with your child. Give them the safe space to talk openly and be a listener.

Here are some tips on talking to your children.

Allow them the space to talk

If your child is the type that needs to talk about their feelings and concerns, let them know at any time they can come to you and ask questions or re-open conversations. It’s important you do not “dismiss” how they are feeling. If your child shares his/her feelings with you, make sure it’s a positive experience so they learn that coming to you is a good thing!

Validate your child’s concerns or feelings

Children need to know how they are feeling is normal.

A dialogue could look something like this:

“It looks like you’re worried. I hear you and it’s okay to feel this way. Some people are also feeling worried about this. We are right here for you and we can talk about ways to make you feel safer. Let’s think about your worry as a way your brain is telling you to be safer by being more careful about keeping our bodies healthy. Remember a month ago when you were sick and couldn’t go to school? What happened when you went back to school? Sounds like your teachers all helped you catch up and helped make a plan on how to get your assignments in. It sounds like they took care of you. Did that help you feel better? There are a lot of other people as well that care about you and will help you again just like the time you were sick and missed school.”

Manage your own big feelings

“When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that isn’t the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. If you notice you’re feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.

Adults set the emotional tone for our children. If you’re panicked and obsessed with the news, your child will pick up on that and they will focus on what they can’t control. If you’re calm and collective and provide small bits of information about what you can control, you will dial down your child’s anxiety.

A dialogue could look something like this:

“It’s great news doctors know how this virus gets spread. The means we know some things to do to stay. Healthy. What do you think we can do to stay healthy?”

Be reassuring

Make sure to discuss with your child how rare the coronavirus actually is and that only a small percentage of people would require hospitalization. Reassure them that the news doesn’t highlight everything and that the majority of people will be okay.

These are just a few tips on how to talk to your children. For more resources, please go to https://www.thewillows.org/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-update

Please reach out to us if you need any support at this time.

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