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Talking to Children about Coronavirus

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

With schools closing and children having to stay at home it is hard to avoid the impact of the Coronavirus on our children. There are people wearing masks in public places and empty shelves in the supermarkets.

Children and young people will have questions about what is happening and what this means for them and their family and friends.

Starting the conversation:

  • Most children will already be aware thatcoronavirus is a present issue;      

  • Opening a conversation with your child(ren) at an age appropriate level can be a good opportunity to give them the correct information;  

  • Before starting this conversation it can be helpful to confirm your child’s current understanding of coronavirus – ‘what have you heard about what’s happening at the moment? How do you feel about that?’ This can then be a good gauge of what information they are looking for and/or ready to receive.   

  • The goal is to help your child(ren) to feel informed and reassured with accurate information;

  • It is important to ensure the conversation occurs when you are feeling relatively calm so as not to alarm them;

Answer their questions clearly and honestly:

  • Reassure your child(ren) that if they were to catch it, children usually have milder symptoms;  

  • Focus on what you can do to stay safe and well – this helps children to feel empowered to know how to keep themselves safe;     

  • Primarily, handwashing is the best prevention – washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come inside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom;      

  • If your child asks about people wearing face masks, explain that the medical experts say that they aren’t necessary for most people – some people need to be extra cautious.

Routine, routine, routine:   

  • Routine is important in helping children feeling that there is some known and predictability to their world.     

  • Where possible maintain normal routines around school, meals, bedtimes and other home routines, etc.

Keep the conversation going:    

  • Reassure your child(ren) that you will keep them updated and that they can always ask any questions and express how they’re feeling to you; 

  • Limit your child(ren)’s exposure to media updates as these can be dramatized and frightening for some children.

When to be concerned:  

  • If your child has difficulty sleeping or eating or engaging in activities they would normally enjoy  

  • If they become obsessed with the coronavirus and they don’t want to talk about other things   

  • Trust your instinct any behaviour that makes you worry about them

If you’re struggling with your mental health or having other issues, CWC QLD has a great team of psychologists who are passionate about helping individuals.

If you feel you need assistance, please contact us

Telehealth services are available.

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