How to talk to your kids about the Corona Virus is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. The Coronavirus is all over the news, on the tip of everyone’s tongues and is even being discussed in schools as teachers work hard to protect the kids from germs as best as they can. It is little wonder that our kids are hearing things about it. Even if they aren’t being told about it directly they are listening and hearing conversations from the people around them. They may even be picking up on the worry and concerns of people they spend time with on a day to day basis – you, friends and extended family, teachers and so on.

Maybe they are okay and not worrying – which is great. Or maybe they are coming home asking you big questions.⁠ Either way, it is important to know how best to talk to your kids about the Corona Virus (Covid -19).

Ask them first what they have already heard.

It is important to start with what they have already heard and know so that you have a starting point. It will help direct your conversation because the information they know could be reasonable or it could be based on myth or hype from everyone’s increased anxiety. Then you can spend your time educating them, providing reasonable information and dispelling any myths should you need to.

Be simple and straight forward as you speak to them.⁠

We want our children to understand what is happening without adding to their fears or concerns. If they express any worry it is important to validate their feelings. They need to feel like their concerns have been heard and acknowledged. You can even talk to them about a time that you felt worried or scared and how you dealt with it. This will help them to know that everyone gets worried sometimes; while showing them a possible strategy for handling it.

With the Corona Virus talked about everywhere, and kids absorbing this information we want to make sure we talk to our kids in the most age-appropriate way.

Give age-appropriate information.

We want to make sure we give our kids information on the Coronavirus that is age-appropriate – so that they can easily understand what is happening and how it affects them and the people around them.

The sort of information you can provide is:

  • It is a bad cold.
  • It is a new virus and scientists are working hard to learn as much as they can about it.
  • You are safe and the adults around you (e.g. Mommy and Daddy) know what to do to make sure of that.
  • For older kids, you can even mention people with good immune systems are safe but we need to protect the people with weakened immune systems.
  • Our biggest job right now is to try to stop the spread. This is why we need to always wash our hands well and cover our coughs, sneezes and handle runny noses quickly.
  • Little kids don’t have a sense of time so you may want to teach them to sing a song as they wash their hands for 20 seconds to ensure germ-free hands.

Stay calm.

We are all worried about the Corona Virus, and naturally so. However, the biggest thing we need to remember when it comes to our kids is that they feed off our emotions. This means that when we feel angry, scared or worried they notice it. Try to keep calm as much as you can around them. If you need to have big chats about the virus, try to do so when they aren’t around, so that you can filter the information they are getting.

You may even want to turn off the TV and control what they are watching. News on the Corona Virus is being played almost 24/7, so they may see things if you keep it switched on. The news isn’t disseminated in a child-friendly way so it will likely add to their fear. They may not necessarily understand that a piece of Corona Virus news is not happening right next to them or may misinterpret what is being said.

As parents, we need to control, as much as we can, what our kids learn about this so that it is child-friendly information and doesn’t heighten their anxiety any more than we need to.

We hope this helps you in the coming weeks, as you need to talk to your kids about what is happening with the Corona Virus. These are such uncertain times right now for everyone and we want to be here to help you as much as we can.

If you have any behavior concerns, especially whilst social distancing, please know that we are here and can set up a consultation to help answer all your questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Mylee Zschech, Child Behavior Coach