News of the COVID-19 pandemic is hard to miss. It’s dominating the news and has likely had an impact on your everyday life. In such uncertain times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s also possible that your children are feeling anxious, too. They might not be able to understand everything that they’re seeing online or on TV, leaving them feeling particularly vulnerable. As a parent or caregiver, you might wonder how to talk with your children about COVID-19, and you’re not alone. Here are 6 tips to help you start the conversation with your children.
Ask what they already know
Figure out what your kids already know, or think they know. This will help you determine what myths you need to dispel or what might be causing them anxiety. Listen to your children’s fears and concerns. Offer empathy and help them better understand the (age appropriate) facts about what’s causing their fears.
Limit TV and social media
Repeated media exposure can cause anxiety in both children and adults. Get the news or information you need but then turn the news off. Kids pick up on more than you may realize. Have a conversation with your kids explaining the importance of making sure what they’re hearing is accurate. Continue to ask them questions like, “Have you heard anything new about coronavirus?” and “Who did you hear it from?” Ask them to come to you with their questions instead. Be sure you are also relying on trusted sources for COVID-19 information, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Try to maintain routines
It’s no secret that COVID-19 is quickly disrupting our daily lives. Many schools have canceled, and more adults are working from home. Find out what small steps you can take to help your children regain some normalcy. Routines like bedtime stories or after dinner walks can go a long way in helping your children feel secure.
Try new activities
While now’s not the time to get out and about with your kids, many zoos, museums, and National Parks are going digital and livestreaming activities and events. You can also create some structured activities and play along with your kids by reading interactively, getting out the paints, putting together a puzzle, or exploring your backyard on a nature hunt.
Help them feel in control
When your children know that there are things, they can do to help stay safe, it can help them feel more in control. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. Remind your children that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. You can also encourage your children to help you keep the house clean and free of germs by helping you wipe down counters, appliances and other areas of your home that harbor germs.
Keep the conversation going
Tell your kids that you plan to continue to keep them updated as you learn more. Reassure them that even though you don’t have all the answers, the lines of communication are going to remain open.
Here When You Need Us
Just as your children may feel fearful and uncertain during this time, you might, too. When it comes to making sure what matters most to you is protected, your Farm Bureau agent has you covered. While you may not feel comfortable with a face-to-face meeting right now, our agents are available by phone, email, or video call.