With this global pandemic, a lot is happening quickly. It’s normal for everyone, including children, to feel worried and overwhelmed. Children look to trusted adults to find out how to deal with stressful situations. If parents are worried and anxious, children may worry and be anxious as well.
Children need accurate and age appropriate information, comfort, structure and routines to help them cope through stressful times.
Tips to help talk to kids about COVID-19:
- Start the conversation. Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Talking to them about their fears and giving them a sense of control can help ease anxiety and build resilience.
- Remain calm and reassuring.
- Create a flexible but consistent daily routine.
- Talk about COVID-19 by being open, honest and giving accurate information.
- Limit and monitor their access to media.
- Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Point out the people who are helping and talk with your child about ways you can help others.
- Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs, e.g. handwashing.
- Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally.
Resources on talking to kids about COVID-19:
- Psychology today: Resilience and Routines for Families during the Pandemic: A checklist for sustaining health and wellbeing during the crisis
- UNICEF: Tips for parenting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Parenting tip sheets
- Canadian Pediatric Society: How can we talk to kids about COVID-19? Be “realistically reassuring”.
- CDC: Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children.
- Zero to Three: Tips for Families: Coronavirus
- About Kids Health (Sick Kids Hospital): How to talk to your child about COVID-19
Visit toronto.ca/covid19 for more information and the latest updates on COVID-19.