Talking to Children about COVID-19

The LCSD Guildance Department, along with the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Nurses, share this advice on how to talk to children and young adults about COVID-19:

Children and young adults also need factual, age appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk and concrete instruction about how to avoid infections and spread of disease.

Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving
them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.

Be calm and reassuring

  • Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions.
  • If true, emphasize to your children that they and your family are fine.
  • Remind them that you and the adults in at school are there to keep them safe and healthy.
  • Let ythem talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.

Make yourself available

  • Children may need extra attention and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions.
  • It is important that they know they have someone who will listen to them and make time for them.
  • Tell them you love them and give them plenty of affection.

Avoid excessive blaming

  • When tensions are high, sometimes we try to blame someone. Avoid stereotyping any one group of people as responsible for the virus.
  • Be aware of comments other adults are making around your family. You may have to explain what comments mean if they are different than the values that you have at home.
  • Avoid watching or listening to news broadcasts that might be upsetting when your children are present.
  • Speak to your child about how many Internet stories about COVID-19 may be inaccurate and based on rumors.
  • Constantly watching updates on the status of COVID-19 can increase anxiety. Avoid this.
  • Be aware that information designed for adults can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children.

Maintain a routine

  • Keep to a regular schedule, as this can be reassuring and promotes physical health.
  • Encourage your children to keep up with schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.

Be honest and accurate

  • Giving children guidance on what they can do to prevent infection gives them a greater sense of
    control over disease spread and will help to reduce their anxiety.
  • In the absence of factual information, children often imagine situations far worse than reality. Don’t ignore their concerns.
  • Encourage your child to practice every day good hygiene, such as proper handwashing,  sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow, and don’t share food or drinks.
  • Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.