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How to talk to children about coronavirus

I wanted to be next coming on here to write about our recent holiday to Lanzarote and share what we have been up to, how it was staying in a villa versus a hotel and so on... But sadly like every other person in this world we were locked down and didn't really get the holiday we planned.

We are home safe and sound (and have been for some time don't panic!) and have spent the last few weeks isolated at home. With 2 small children. Working full time. Whilst attempting home schooling (or emergency schooling) and keeping sane.

how to talk to your child about coronavirus


I expect none of us actually ever imagined we would be in this situation. It feels as if we may wake up any minute and it was all a dream. How in this day of age does something like this happen? It feels absolutely ridiculous, but it most certainly is happening. And it is terrifying to us as adults never mind small children.

I have been doing lots of reading up on how we should be talking to our children about the situation and how perhaps they may be feeling. It has become fairly clear over the last few days that Daisy is pretty worried over "the germs". And Alex definitely knows something serious is going on. So, how should we talk to our children about Coronavirus?

So a couple of my tips or at least things I am trying to do currently:

- Shelter them from the news stories and publicity as much as I possibly can. We all know what it is like to become absorbed by the news aound Covid-19 but even I have taken the steps to stay away from it as much as possible at certain points of the day, to avoid starting the day in a dark place. If I struggle how hard must it be for a 5 year old to absorb and process all of that terrifying news? They pick up of far more than we give them credit for. We are now catching up on the headlines when they have gone to bed in an evening. It may not exactly be sheltering them from the news but perhaps filtering.

- Give them a sense of control. So one thing we can control now we are in lock down is our hygiene. Take it as a time for education on germs and virus. How can they keep themselves clean. How can we wash our hands effectively. But also making sure you get that balance correct and don't push them into becoming obsessive over washing their hands for example.

- Reassurance is key. We have been asked questions such as we have to look after older people at the moment and stay away. will they die? But we turn it around and talk about older people we may know and talk about how fit and healthy they are and how they too are isolating to keep themselves safe. Try to keep the way in which you talk to them super simple and appropriate for their age.

- Take your cues from your child. This is a tip from Childmind and I thought it was really, really helpful.  Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel about it. Give them the chance to ask questions they may have, just be preapred that you have to answer them!

- Try to avoid them seeing you in a state of panic or heightened anxiety. We are all going to feel it at some point and I expect potentially there may be more to come but we need to try and disguise this. Children pick up on our behaviours and moods. When we are all stuck at home the last place we want to feel like a deep dark gloomy cave is here.



There are some fantastic resources available to help you with this such as the below:

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-talk-your-child-about-coronavirus-covid-19

Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/

Kids Health: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-talk-child.html




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