HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
What parents often don’t realize is that the best steps we can take in protecting our kids supporting them emotionally and psychologically are those within closest reach.
Before you talk to your kids about the virus (and, yes, it’s essential that you do) check in with yourself. Parents who take a moment to play that calming, reassuring role for themselves first are able to bring their whole self to interactions with their kids.
Ask yourself how you’re feeling, whether it’s afraid or anxious, frustrated or even angry. Put your phone down and turn off the news. Start the conversation by asking open questions concerning what your kids have heard about the virus, what they believe to be true and what they don’t understand. Listen to what they say, without trying to debate or contest it, acknowledge how they feel, and be honest about the limits of your own knowledge.
Once your kids have expressed themselves, you can help reframe the conversation by reminding them of the procedures that have been put in place to protect them, like limits on travel and public gatherings and public directives to sneeze into your elbow. You can put a positive focus on the discussion by thinking about proactive steps your kids can take: like strengthening their immune systems with eating healthy food, lots of sleep, and stress-minimizing mindfulness techniques. Let them know they’re safe.
What’s important is knowing there is a way to talk to your kids about all these things which will help make them more resilient and less prone to the ravages of stress and trauma.