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My children asked me why we won't see our family on special occasions. How can I explain COVID-19 to them?

If you have been sheltering in place with young children for almost a year now, you may have had conversations with them about COVID-19. However, young children who have not been able to go out and see family members and friends for a few months now may wonder why you don’t get together as often as before.

Your kids are most likely hearing about COVID-19, so make sure that they get reliable information while also minimizing their anxiety or fear. Here are some ways on how you can discuss coronavirus with your children:

Make yourself available. Allot some time to talk and listen to your kids. Let them know that they can come to you if they have any questions. Assure them that any question they might have is valid and you will try to answer them as best you can, so that you can build a sense of safety and trust with your children.

Remain calm. Remember that children will react accordingly to what you say and how you say it. When talking about the coronavirus and the news, use a calm voice. Let them know that it is okay to feel upset about the situation, but reassure them that they are safe. Welcome discussion about coronavirus. This is an opportunity for you to convey facts that are honest and accurate.

Make sure that the information you are giving them is truthful and appropriate for their age and development level. In addition, you can also provide more information in the best way that your kids learn. For instance your children’s learning style may be visual or auditory and so you can provide material, in the form of a documentary or podcast, that they could absorb and enjoy.

Avoid language that can lead to stigma and blaming others. Remember that anyone is susceptible to getting viruses and being sick. Do not make assumptions about who might have coronavirus. Avoid negative comments made towards others.

Teach kids appropriate actions to reduce the spread of germs. Remind children to wash their hands properly and frequently. Tell them to stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing, or are sick. Also, remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, then throw that tissue into the trash. Tell them not to share drinks or food with other people.

Lastly, ensure that your children are keeping in touch in meaningful ways with loved ones who do not live in the same household. There are various video conferencing platforms available with many different features.

Source: LA County

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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