(ABC News) – News of the novel coronavirus is everywhere and children may now find themselves feeling anxious about the new virus. Experts say that parents need to talk honestly with their kids about the outbreak while still being reassuring.
The number of people with novel coronavirus has steadily increased in the U.S., raising concerns and worries. Children normally look to their parents for guidance, and if parents seem overly worried, children will inevitably feel the same.
Despite feeling concerned, it’s important to empower kids with fact-based information while still being stable and a calming role model. To do this, parents should first educate themselves on COVID-19 and deal with your own anxiety before attempting a conversation with your child.
Expert psychologists at the Child Mind Institute urge parents not to be afraid of discussing COVID-19. Most children have already heard about the coronavirus and avoiding this conversation may actually make them worry more.
They also said to let your kids take the lead. Rather than volunteer too much information, simply try to answer their questions and focus on sharing with them what you and your children can do to stay safe.
Try to stick to routines as much as possible, even with your child’s school or daycare shut down, making sure you’re still following regular mealtimes and bedtimes.
They also say to remember that this is an ongoing dialogue. Let them know that the lines of communication are open and that you are there for them.