Talking To Your Kids About Covid

The world was drastically changed back in March of this year. And, as the months go by, it is becoming more and more clear that Covid-19 is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. This month saw many kids returning to school, whether it be in person, online, or a hybrid of both. And just like that, children who have been quarantined for months suddenly have access to the outside world again, even if it’s only through the screen of their tablet or Chromebook. 

While re-entry into school and the company of their classmates is a great thing in a lot of ways, it also means there are more people speaking into their lives about what Covid is and how they should feel about it. You may find that your child has more questions about it than they have in the past, and while more information can sometimes help, it can also lead to more fear and anxiety. We’d like to talk about that here, and offer some ways you can engage in conversation with your kids about what they’re experiencing. Hopefully, it will help ease some uncertainty and lead to a positive experience for your whole family!

The first thing we recommend is finding out what your child already knows, or thinks they know, about Covid-19. Ask them to tell you in their own words what they understand about the virus, the way it’s transmitted, and the consequences of catching it. Start with asking them what they know about the virus, and listen to everything they have to say first, without interrupting or correcting them. It’s important to provide an understanding and listening ear without making them feel silly or like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Once they’re done telling you about it, feel free to gently correct any misinformation.

Secondly, ask them what questions they have about it. Then, work on answering those questions. Be as truthful as you can, and don’t be afraid to admit it if you don’t have all of the answers. Offer to help them research to find the answers they need, and do it together. It may provide them comfort to learn that they’re not the only ones who don’t know exactly what’s going on! Studying together to find the answers can help them feel connected to you, and provide peace of mind that you’re taking their curiosity seriously. 

Talk to them about what they’re hearing on the news. Try not to let them watch or read news stories without you present, so that you can make sure they’re getting accurate context to what they’re hearing. Be willing to have conversations with them about what happens when someone gets sick, and reassure them that while people have died from the coronavirus, many, many, many more have survived. Use examples from their real lives if you can (maybe a time where they or someone in the family was very sick but recovered). Help to put it in perspective by researching the statistics and showing them with counting toys or other objects how many people recover vs how many people do not. Try to minimize their fear with facts, while still being honest about the risks. Most importantly, be sure to tell them that their fear and anxiety is normal in a time like this. Reassure them that there is nothing wrong with the way that they’re feeling!

In order to counteract the uncertainty that comes with the unknown, talk to your child about what they CAN control. Washing their hands, wearing their masks, being honest when they’re feeling afraid…these are all actions that can help your child gain steady footing in such an unsteady time. Talk to them about how good hygiene, plenty of rest, and making good food choices can help keep them healthy, and talk about why making those choices are important. Be sure to set a good example for them so that they’ll see how important it is to make healthy choices. 

Finally, remain available for conversation. Be aware that as life moves forward, new questions and concerns may arise. Create the time and space for your child to come to you any time they want to talk about it. Continue to bring it up in conversation. This will help let them know that their questions are welcome and expected, and will normalize them coming to you for reassurance. It will also help ensure that they continue to come to you for answers, as opposed to friends or social media platforms. 

If you need support or are feeling anxious yourself, please call us. We can help provide you with the tools you need to maintain good mental health throughout all of this. Contact us today to schedule your telehealth session with one of our psychologists!

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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