How Should You Talk to Children About COVID-19?
A question that keeps coming up is how do you talk to children about COVID-19? This is something I have been grappling with, and I have been on the lookout for tips and resources to help.
A helpful and comforting message I have seen came in a letter written to students and school families by Greg Enion, Director of Education for Regina Public Schools. He says:
Please consider the following ideas to support you and your families in the coming days and weeks.
- Practice Self-Compassion. Even those who don't typically struggle with anxiety may experience increased anxiety during uncertain times, so don't be hard on yourself if you are feeling more worried or anxious than usual.
- Practice Self-Care. It remains important to engage in healthy and relaxing activities that you enjoy. Consider a wide variety of fun, intellectually stimulating, and physically active options such as reading for professional growth or leisure, cooking, practicing yoga, exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature.
- Stay Connected. Stay connected with family and friends.
- Establish and maintain routines. Keeping similar routines and developing healthy new routines helps provide predictability and a sense of safety for you and your family.
He also lists some support resources like Anxiety Canada and Kids Help Phone.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also has this page to guide people on how to talk to children, and this page on how to deal with stress and anxiety with a special section for parents. UNICEF also has a guide for talking to children too.
One theme that keeps coming up is to stay active, both for mental stimulation and relaxation. With that in mind, we have a lot of resources to entertain children and teens:
- TumbleBook Library is great to stream picture books and middle grade novels.
- Hoopla is a popular resource for graphic novel fans.
- Kanopy is a place where you can stream children’s television shows.
- Overdrive (Libby) is a source of popular fiction for middle graders and teens.
- And Hoopla is great place to find music for an impromptu dance party in your kitchen.
I hope some of these resources can be helpful to you and your family.