The COVID-19 pandemic has been around for nearly a year, and it’s evolved significantly since the early stages. It’s important to help your child understand the changes and how they affect him personally. Talking to your child about COVID-19 is a good way to address new facts and answer your child’s questions.
Your Child Needs to Talk About it
Talking to your child about COVID-19 will likely bring up unspoken questions and concerns. Like most adults, children need occasional updates about what’s going on around them. Your child can’t miss the fact that the virus is still out there. He or she needs to know that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. They may also want to discuss when they can get back to their normal life.
Even if they don’t ask, children have a lot of questions about COVID-19. it’s better for them to get the information from you than from social media, conspiracy theorists, or unreliable sources.
Do your research
Before you begin talking to your child about COVID-19, take time to update your own information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page, Things to Know about the COVID-19 Pandemic, provides links to information on symptoms, testing, vaccines, prevention, and many other related topics.
The CDC’s information is based on research and scientific data. It’s updated regularly and it’s written in words that non-medical professionals can understand.
Be Calm and Confident
COVID-19 is an extended emergency. As the CDC explains, children react to emergency situations based on their age, past experiences, and other factors. Their responses are also partially based on, “…what they see from the adults around them…” If you seem anxious, agitated, or fearful while talking to your child about COVID-19, your child will pick up on your behavior. Instead of remaining calm and confident, he may mirror your agitation or fear.
Your Child Doesn’t Need to Know Everything
While talking to your child about COVID-19, he doesn’t need casualty statistics, infection rates, or health department projections. He doesn’t need speculation as to why other people make different choices about their pandemic behaviors. Your child needs to understand issues that personally affect him and his life. He needs you to talk about the choices you’re making on his behalf and why.
Before you begin your conversation, it’s a good idea to consider what you want to say. Create a list to help keep you on track.
- Why your family chooses to stay at home (or why you choose to go out)
- COVID-19 Vaccine: who will get it and when
- Family visits and social events: attending vs not attending
- Your position on social distancing and mask-wearing
- In-person school vs remote learning
- Team sports, clubs, school activities, playing with friends
- How some information he hears isn’t true
Allow your child to ask questions
When you’re talking to your child about COVID-19, he will have his own questions. Encourage him to say whatever is on his mind and ask questions about things he doesn’t understand. Provide straightforward answers. If you don’t know an answer, be honest; but promise him you’ll look for more information.
If your child asks an inappropriate question (Why does the neighbor go to restaurants? Why do they not wear masks) find a tactful way of declining to answer.
Contact The Learning Center
Talking to your child about COVID-19 can be a difficult task. Give us a call at (860) 643-8639 or visit our contact page if you want more information about explaining the facts and answering your child’s questions.