Check-in to see what they know, invite them to share how they are feeling, and acknowledge and address worries and concerns.
Consider the age of your child and his/her ability to process information.
It is best to stick to the facts, while also reassuring your child that healthcare professionals are working tirelessly for ways to keep us safe and healthy. Ask them to share what they’ve learned at school about staying healthy (hand washing and reducing handshakes or high-fives). Knowing preventative measures can help alleviate some of their fears and give them a feeling of control over their risk of infection.
Even though it can be difficult to manage what your child will see and hear, it’s important to make an effort to limit exposure to the news.
Try to maintain a normal schedule as much as possible.
Children feel safe with routine, and maintaining a routine becomes more important than ever when there is a feeling of uncertainty or powerlessness.
Make time for fun!
Engaging in some type of exercise or recreational activity has both physical and emotional benefits. Have board games, books, puzzles and other activities available. Head outside and move whenever possible. Make cards for hospitalized children or senior citizens who are stuck indoors with limited visitation policies. Get creative and ask your children for input about how to share family time!
With students now remaining home for an extended period of time, it becomes imperative to practice positive coping strategies while at home. Keep your home routines intact as much as possible. Since managing stress differs from person to person, think about your child’s interests and what works for him/her. Whether it is drawing, watching movies, singing, coloring or something different, it is helpful to develop a list of things to do to keep occupied and focus on moments of positivity. Adding meditation, relaxation/mindfulness strategies and exercise can be particularly helpful while stuck inside. Last, allowing students to express concerns while remaining calm and addressing those concerns is important to how your child will cope. As always, our children are looking to us to know how to respond.
During times of crisis, adults tend to focus on how to best support their children but often forget to take care of themselves. This is a stressful time for all of us and we need to make sure we are acknowledging how we are feeling and remember to tend to our own needs. If we allow our children to witness us taking care of ourselves, we model healthy coping and teach our children how to persevere through difficult times.
Lastly, here are a few additional resources you may find helpful:
Talking to Children about Coronavirus
Parenting Tips for Coronavirus