Steps you can take to minimize their anxiety:
As parents, we make protecting our children a priority. During these unprecedented times it is important to safeguard our children without scaring or causing them unnecessary worry. If you are feeling uneasy yourself, which is totally normal, we have further resources for you during this uncertain time. Please reach out to us at 818.730.0855.
The following are some best practices for talking to your children about Coronavirus.
- Remain calm and reassuring. Children look to their parents for guidance on how to react during stressful situations. If they see that you are overly worried, their anxiety may rise. What you say and do about COVID-19, and the current preventative efforts you take can either increase or decrease your child’s anxiety.
- Use age-appropriate explanations.
- Early elementary school children require brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with reassurances that you are keeping them safe and healthy. Provide examples of the steps you are helping them take every day to stay healthy, such as washing hands for 20 seconds and covering their cough or sneeze into the inside of their elbow. You know your child best so let their questions and comments be your guide for how much information to provide.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will likely be more vocal about COVID-19. It is important to help them understand factual information and to provide reassurances that they can take measures to keep themselves safe and healthy. Washing their hands with soap and water on a regular basis for 20 seconds, letting you know if they are not feeling well, sneezing and coughing into the inside of their elbow, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and practicing social distancing are crucial steps toward this end. And as importantly, try to limit exposure to overblown media coverage and worrisome conversation.
- Upper middle and high school students can have more adult-like conversations with you about COVID-19 facts. Encourage your children to voice their own concerns and feelings and help them reframe their concerns into an appropriate perspective given all the measures being taken by your family and the community at large. And try to minimize their exposure to hearing about your concerns and stress level. Finally, help them feel as if they have some control by having them exercise the same precautionary practices discussed above.
- Take good care of yourself. It is important that you practice all the hygiene and self-care habits discussed above. By doing so you not only bolster your own immune system, but you provide a good role model for your children. And if you find that you need help managing your own anxiety, please reach out to us at www.coastalpsychologicalgroup.com
Stay tuned for more information on a weekly basis on how to help your children, yourself, and your family manage concerns and anxiety during these unprecedented times.