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During this time, it's important to help your children feel well-informed about COVID-19. Use simple language they can understand and allow them to ask questions or share how they are feeling. Try to underreact to anything surprising, but answer honestly and gently.
Certified Child Life Specialist Carly Abate, MS, CCLS, CEIM and Child Life Services Coordinator, Katelyn Beyer, CCLS, offer these tips when talking with children regarding COVID-19.
Common Questions Children Have:
What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?COVID-19 is a new virus that we are still learning about. Doctors say it is similar to the flu and many people who catch it can stay home, rest and get better. Some people who need more help to get better will see their doctor or go to a hospital for treatment.
Can I catch it?Yes, it is possible for you to catch the virus, but washing your hands and staying home will help you not catch it.
When should I wear a mask?You don’t need to wear a mask when you are at home, but you are required to wear a mask when you are outside or in public places like grocery stores. You will also need to stay 6 feet or more away from other people.
Can you die from COVID-19?Most people who catch the virus do not die. But because this is a new virus, doctors are still working hard to take care of people and keep the virus from spreading.
Safe Social Distance:
Reflect & Express:
Children by nature are very perceptive. They know this virus is happening and they need support from their parents and families. Ignoring the virus or not talking about it can make their worries bigger. Help your children reflect on what they know or think about the virus, and give them outlets for expressing their emotions.
Control & Consistency:
Children thrive on routine. The virus has obviously disrupted all our normal routines, involve your children in creating a daily schedule. Give them small jobs and chances to make choices for the family, like what to eat or watch on television. Children need to feel some control of their environment to feel successful.
Do Your Part Together:
We are all in this together. Help children come up with ideas to help the community. Children may be experiencing a lack of socialization, sense of purpose, contentment and drive. Sit down as a family and find ways to help others and spend time with others (with safe social distancing).