As the new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the globe and with the rapid cancellation of large group gatherings, sporting events, schools and more, one question will always remain: What do you tell your kids in a time of crisis?
Most importantly, DON’T shut down the conversation. Show them you are there to help as a resource and their support system.
You know your child best; however, here are a few suggestions on discussing the current situation with them:
- Validate their feelings and answer their questions.
- Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know.”
- Lead by example.
- Don’t panic.
- Encourage kindness.
Validate their feelings and answer their questions.
Let them know that it is okay to feel confused, scared, sad or upset. It is difficult for kids to understand the scope of certain situations, so it is up to us as adults to help them feel secure.
Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know.”
It is important to have an open, honest, and age-appropriate conversation with your kids, so they stay calm and know how to get the right information. Follow the guidance of your local government/authorities as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Experts and medical professionals are here for a reason and can help you gather the facts.
Lead by example.
Be a positive role model in your behaviors, whether it be in conversations with others or in your own actions. Encourage elbow bumps over hugs and high fives. Show proper hygiene: avoid touching your face, wash your hands properly, cover your sneezes and coughs, stay home when you are not feeling well. (Remember that these are simple behaviors that we can and should display on a regular basis.) Most important, remain calm. Kids are always watching and listening.
We understand that this is a time of uncertainty and nervousness. Your kids are looking to you for a lot of the answers. Although we may not have ALL the answers, we have the resources to find some. We are also in control of how we react and the example that we set for them now and in the future.
Important note: ALWAYS encourage kindness; however, this becomes even more important in times like these. Remind your kids that everyone in the world deserves kindness and respect, regardless of their age, race, gender or background.
Stay safe and stay informed. Please visit this link for the best preventative measures from the CDC.