The coronavirus and COVID-19 is hard for adults to fathom, let alone the youngest
members of our families. However, children also need to understand what’s going
on in the world and why their lives have changed. Here are some general tips that
can help you have conversations about COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus
Tell the Truth: In an age appropriate way, be truthful with children about the
coronavirus. It’s important to have conversations every now and then about it
because kids can misconstrue information. For example, one seven-year- old
thought that his family had to stay at home because you could get the virus just
from going outside. While there’s some truth to that, this idea made the virus
seem even scarier. Addressing the topic to help your children understand can
alleviate stress and frustration in your children.
If you’re not sure what to say, here is a basic script to start with: “Coronavirus is a
new kind of sickness. You can’t see it, but the virus is in the tiny drops of saliva but
we can all help stop coronavirus from spreading. We have to wash our hands with
soap and stay home for a little while to stop us from getting the virus and so that
we don’t give it to other people either.”
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep: Your child might ask if they or you are going
to get COVID-19. While you might be tempted to promise that no one in the family
is going to get sick, it’s impossible to predict the future. Instead, focus on the truth
and being positive. For example, you might say “I hope we don’t get it! We are
going to do our best to keep everyone in the family healthy.”
Include Positives: Talking about coronavirus can feel scary. It’s a scary virus! You
can help balance this negativity by reminding your child that the government,
health workers, the police and other community members are working every day
to protect us and help those in need. Also, explain that scientists are
working to make new medicines that will help fight against the coronavirus.
Remind your child that eventually, we’ll be able to see our friends again, go to
school, and go shopping together. This won’t last forever.
With these strategies, you can make sure your children know the truth. However,
at the same time, you can maintain a hopeful outlook that will help your child stay
positive through this difficult time.