How do you talk to your kids about Covid-19?

 Don't be hesitant about discussing Covid-19 with your children

Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents should not avoid talking about it. Avoiding talking about it may cause some children anxiety, use the conversation as an opportunity to convey facts, and evaluate the thoughts and feelings of the child. Do not forget that your goal is to help your children until they become familiar with it and obtain information based on facts. What you say to them will reassure them more than anything they hear from their friends or in the news. Whenever you talk to children about a topic in the news, always start by asking them if they have heard about it before.

Give your children a chance to tell you anything they have heard about the virus, and how they feel about it.

Give them an opportunity to ask questions. You have to be prepared to answer the questions and know that your primary goal is to avoid creating frightening thoughts and illusions.

Make sure that the way you speak and the information you provide is appropriate for the child's mental age

Do not overwhelm the child with a lot of information, as this can often cause anxiety and panic. Instead, try to answer your child's questions, and do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It's okay if you cannot answer everything, the important thing is to be available for your child. For older children, you might ask, "Do people at school talk about coronavirus? What do they say?" For younger children, you might say, "Have you heard adults talking about a new disease going on?" This gives you a chance to see how much the kids know and see if they have heard any false information. Let your child direct the conversation. Be prepared for children to ask questions, but do not provide any information before asking it.

Reassure your child

Hearing about the Coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them very worried that they will be infected. It may be helpful to reassure your child how unlikely that is if they are taking all the appropriate measures, you can empathize with your child by using Phrases like: “I can see that you are feeling anxious / afraid / which is understandable” or tell your child that when terrible things happen, there are a lot of people who take care of us and will keep us safe - for example: the government, the police, the firefighters, the doctors , teachers, mothers and fathers who will help us overcome the problems.

Focus on what you do to stay safe

One of the important ways to reassure children is to emphasize the safety precautions you are taking, and here we aim to empower them and make them feel that they know what they must do to keep them safe; So remind the child that they have to take care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water, wearing their face masks when out in public, and maintaining social distance from people when they are out in public.

Monitor the source of your child's information about the virus

It is important to ensure that your child is receiving information from the correct sources to avoid misinformation or receiving information in ways that are not appropriate for their age.

Don't forget to choose an appropriate time to talk to your child

Talk to your child at the usual time you talk, perhaps on the way to exercise or after taking him from school, if you have time for conversation and you and your child can focus, then use it to talk about the Corona virus, but do not try to have the conversation too late From today or in a hurry, you don't want your kids to be awake at night and scared.

Be aware of your own behavior

It is important for parents to understand how their behavior may affect the behavior and feelings of children. If you are clearly upset, anxious, or react in a way that suggests you are afraid, they will take that behavior from you.

Laughter is another way to quickly change brain chemistry as the body releases good endorphins. Do fun activities and watch more comedy movies on TV to encourage laughter

Laughter

Do not forget that your goal is to deliver the following to your child

  • You are safe

  • The adults will take care of it

  • Children and adults who are in good health also have immune systems that can fight this virus.

  • There are many scientists and health workers are able to fight the virus, we are fortunate in this country that we have an excellent health system.

  • Our task now is to make sure that we do not inadvertently spread the virus, it is more important today than ever before that we develop good health habits; Such as washing hands with soap and water, to avoid infection and get rid of germs

  • If we can stay healthy, this reduces the spread of the virus and allows health care workers to focus on helping others at greatest risk.

We advise you to watch this clip by Prof. Osama Al-Jami (Clinical Psychologist)

about children's anxiety and how to talk about crises with your children

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