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How to Speak to Children about COVID-19

March 20, 2020

With all of the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 and the constant news alerts, we at Housman Institute & begin to ECSEL thought it might be helpful to compile a list of tips on how to discuss coronavirus with your children:

1. Focus on helping your child feel SAFE. Children can sense your anxiety, so try to maintain a calm environment and reassure them that there are precautions we can all take to stay healthy.

2. Be TRUTHFUL when answering direct questions, but there is no need to offer more detail than your child is interested in. 

3. VALIDATE your child's feelings! If they express anxiety or fear, reassure them that this is completely normal. Furthermore, you can explain that kids don't seem to get as sick from coronavirus as older adults. If this causes them to express concern about your health or the health of their grandparents, remind them that we are all following the same precautions to stay as healthy as possible.

4. Let them feel IN CONTROL. Offer your kids ways of feeling in control during this uncertain time by sticking to your usual ROUTINE as much as possible. You should also remind them that they can be helpful by washing their hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping their hands away from their faces. If any of these tasks prove difficult for them...

5. Embrace some FUN! Invent new games, play OUTSIDE, give them stickers every time they remember to wash their hands, create some art projects together, FaceTime with family members who are not close by, etc. (we will be compiling a list of fun activities to do at home later today - keep an eye out!) 

6. Keep CHECKING IN with your child. Ask them how they are feeling and what is making them feel that way. Having open conversations about coronavirus will help them air their concerns and get reassurance from you. 

As most of us are isolating at home, take this opportunity to deepen those important connects with your children and spouses. Lead by example and remind your kids that like any trying times, we can get through this TOGETHER. Sending you healthy wishes.

- The Housman Institute Team

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