Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health.
6 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About COVID-19
Whether it’s on the radio driving to school, TV shows at home or social media chatter everywhere, children are hearing about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can help them learn how to protect themselves and reduce worry about the unknown by talking with them. These six tips and tactics will help you open up the conversation, answer your child’s questions and help alleviate unnecessary anxiety.
Establish open communication with your children.
Have ongoing, calm conversations with your children. Encourage them to ask you questions, especially if they hear unsettling information or myths. You can even investigate together online at cdc.gov for the latest facts and to debunk myths.
Stay focused on what is known.
Don’t worry aloud or indulge what-if scenarios or myths. Remember and remind them often about these three important known facts:
- The coronavirus acts like a cold or flu virus.
- This virus can spread from person to person.
- Handwashing is the number one way to stop it from spreading.
Empower your children.
Your children are probably already experts at the one thing everyone needs to do to prevent the virus from spreading: washing their hands. Talk with them as the handwashing experts they are to give them a sense of empowerment and control. Remind them they already know how to stop the spread of germs in three important ways:
- Hand washing
- Covering their mouth with their forearm or tissue when they cough or sneeze
- Not drinking or eating after others
Talk about proper hand hygiene.
Ask your child to “teach” you their handwashing process. Make sure they know to use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and encourage them to make lots of bubbles between their fingers.
Model positive behavior for your children.
Children learn more from what parents do than what they say. Practice and demonstrate the things you want your children to do, including:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue then throw it away
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Explain to your children the importance of not touching their face, and make a game out of pointing out if they see you do so
- Avoid programming or media that uses fear to hold audience attention or that spreads inaccurate or unconfirmed information.