children about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
A Parent Resource. National
Association of School Psychologists, 2020. https://www.nasponline.org/)
Help children cope
with anxiety by providing accurate information
Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to
stressful events such COVID-19. Parents, caregivers, whanau and teachers will have
a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time.
Children will react to and follow your verbal and non-verbal
cues. If you are able to stay informed and realistic, it will be easier for you
to reassure children effectively as well.
Children need factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19
so that they can also feel informed and in control. They need to know how they
can play a part in avoiding infection and the spread of virus. They also need
to feel that any fears that they may have can be talked about and addressed.
Reassure your children
If no one in your family has COVID-19 nor has
had close contact with anyone with COVID-19, emphasise to your children that
they and your family are fine.
You know your children best. If
they have a lot of questions, consider how much extra information would or
wouldn’t be helpful for them to know before replying.
Tips – if your
child is anxious
Sparklers has a range of calming activities you
could try https://sparklers.org.nz/
Children may need extra attention from you, and may want to talk about
their concerns, fears, and questions. Make time for them.
Tell them you love them, and give them plenty of affection.
children and youth do not always talk about their concerns readily. Watch for
clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the
dishes or work. It is very typical for younger children to ask a few questions,
return to playing, then come back to ask more questions. Often they will
ask the same questions again and again as they try to make sense of things –
keep your answers simple, truthful and age appropriate. Children will be reassured by your consistent
information, provide facts calmly, remind children that adults are working to
address this concern, and give children actions they can take to protect
Maintain a normal routine
Avoid blaming others
Monitor social media and TV
and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices
What to emphasize when
talking to children about school