How do you begin to talk to your child about COVID-19? How do you remain calm while informing them about the state of the world, without making them feel scared or anxious? Let me start by making this very clear: whatever decision you make as a parent for YOUR child, is the correct decision. There is no right or wrong answer on how to handle/determine the safety of your family during these uncertain times.
Coverage, wrote an article titled “Back to School Amid COVID: What if I’m Not Ready?” This article gave helpful tips for parents on how to handle explaining the pandemic to your children. I have summarized the article and you can find the link to the original post here:
Talking To Your Kids
Your child may have been exposed to conversations about the virus that you were not a part of, so for starters, ask your child what they know about the virus already. We know that children are very curious individuals, so they will more than likely have additional questions. Do NOT answer those questions based on your emotions. Try to answer these questions with the facts that you know about the virus. If you don’t know the answer to a question, make that clear to them. The words you choose and how you say them, when having difficult conversations with your child, usually is more important than the topic itself.
Lead By Example
As previously suggested, do NOT answer your child’s questions about the virus based on your emotional bias. This is extremely important because your child will mirror your behavior. If you are anxious, terrified, and uncertain about the virus and you express that to your child, they will follow suit. Your attitude matters. Staying calm, taking the right steps (washing your hands, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you sneeze/cough to help slow the spread of germs, wearing a mask), your child will know that these are productive ways to help stay safe during this time.
Don’t Overlook Mental Health
While physical help is the primary focus during this pandemic, don’t forget to keep an eye on you and your child’s mental health. It is normal to have higher signs of stress and anxiety right now. A couple of tips to paying attention to the warning signs are to:
- Recognize if your child is having a harder time than usual verbalizing their emotions
- Acting out in environments/settings that are unusual for them to be doing so
- They are sleeping more or less than normal
- Becoming unexplainably ill (sick to their stomach, headaches, fevers that are NOT COVID-19 related.
HomeschoolFacts.com has a complete list of support groups to help support you in your homeschooling endeavors and connect with homeschoolers near you. You can search the list of support groups here: https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/homeschool-support-groups.html