Talking to your children about coronavirus

Your children may well be worried about the news and the information they hear from their peers and others about the virus. It is important that as a parent you are not surprised or dismissive about your child's anxiety.

To begin with, you need to be aware of your own mental health concerns and take measures to address these as needed, because children are sensitive to their parents' anxiety.

Top tips:

  1. Take your child’s concerns seriously and never say “Oh, don't worry about that, everything will be fine”.​
     

  2.  Reassure your child that worrying is a normal and healthy response to a troubling situation.
     

  3. Ask your child what they have already heard about coronavirus.  There is a great deal of information being passed around, some of which is not accurate.
     

  4. After knowing this, over-explaining can often be better than under-explaining as long as the advice is accurate, comprehensive and age-appropriate.
     

  5. Only use trusted, impartial sources of information (some links are provided below)
     

  6. Make sure your child is not exposed to too much media, in particular where there is misinformation or information they might not understand.
     

  7. Help your child feel safe and educate them on the everyday actions they can take to help reduce the spread of germs.
     

  8. Help your child feel more in control by telling them how washing their hands or coughing into their sleeves can help stop the spread of germs.
     

  9. Ensuring structure and daily routine is important.  Let your child maintain a regular activity where possible.
     

  10. Finding ways for children to have daily interactions with other people is helpful, even if it's remotely via Skype or Facetime.
     

  11.  Exercise is important for children and parents, and is effective in managing anxiety and promoting wellbeing.
     

  12. Talk to your child about staying home from school and how this can help in not spreading germs, leading to a greater chance that the virus will go away.

Further guidance on talking to your children about the coronavirus:

Talking to your children about scary world news

You can help minimise the negative impact upsetting information has on your children. You can do this through open and honest conversations at home. 

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NHS

Advice for everyone -

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

gov.uk

Coronavirus (COVID-19):

what you need to do

WHO

Coronavirus disease: advice for the public

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