Talking to Kids about a Pandemic

As adults, we’ve been through quite a lot in our lives, some of us remember the eerily quiet country after the 9/11 attacks, others may remember the tragedy that occurred when Hurricane Katrina hit the south. We’ve been through H1N1, SARS, and Ebola, but nothing has been quite like the recent activities that have occurred due to COVID-19. What we may not realize, is that our children haven’t been through any major dilemmas that have affected the entire world, at least not like this. Their worlds are completely different than they were just mere weeks ago, most children in the United States are no longer in school, and those that live in Italy have been in isolation for nearly a month. Nothing like this has ever happened in their lifetimes, and so we must tread this new road together with no navigation whatsoever.

Keep in mind the age group and maturity level of your child before discussing this issue with them, older kids may be able to handle the news better than younger children. Sometimes, the littlest ones don’t have any clue what’s going on-they’re just happy mom and dad are home to play.

The first thing to do when discussing COVID-19 or any other serious issue with your child is to control your own anxieties. Everyone is freaking out right now but showing your kid that you’re afraid will make them feel even more uncertain. Make sure you know everything that you need to know about what’s going on, because they’ll likely ask you a lot of questions. Before getting into anything, you should ask them what they already know or have heard about what’s going on. Some may have heard rumors flying around at school or through friends, but you’ll want to make sure that they are informed of what’s really happening-within their age and maturity level.

Pandemic can sound like a very scary word, but it just means that a virus has spread throughout the world-not just in one country, so it would be completely acceptable if your child was terrified, worried, nervous, or angry about what is happening. The important thing to do is make sure that their feelings are heard and acknowledged by you. Then offer them a chance to ask whatever they want about the troubles we are facing and be honest with them. Clarify to them the seriousness of this crisis, but also explain everything that the government is doing to help those in need, and to stop something like this from ever happening again.

Stopping the spread of the virus is something that your children can learn at home as well, show them how to properly wash their hands, how to sneeze or cough into their elbow, and how to stay six feet away from people in public.

This is a frightening and uncertain time for all of us, the best we can do is stay informed and stay safe. In ten years, your child will likely be talking about the things that they did over school break during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, so try and make those memories as happy as possible.

If you need current information about the pandemic, visit the CDC Website:

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