Amber recently sat down with child psychiatrist, Dr. Kali Hobson and asked her about tips on discussing coronavirus with your kids, so many of these tips come directly from her – the expert!
1.Inform vs. Scare. A lot of parents are worried about scaring their children, so they choose to just not talk about it (guilty!). I think we underestimate our kids and what they can handle, and leaving them in the dark often time causes more fear and uncertainty. For the older kids, sit down with them (or find those golden moments – the moments where your kids are more likely to open up) and be as informative as you can. For the younger kids, Dr. Hobson recommends communicating with them through play. Use stuffed animals, dolls or toys to teach your younger kids about coronavirus and emulate how the virus can spread.
2.Be Honest Yet Reassuring. Be honest with your kids, but also reassure them on ways to stay safe by washing hands and practicing social distancing. Help them feel empowered on how they can keep themselves safe by washing hands and wearing masks (let them pick out their own mask- my daughter picked out an LOL doll mask and she’s very excited about it).
3.Remain Calm. Deal with your own anxiety first before talking to your kids. Try and remain calm – kids pick up on your cues very easily.
4.Check In. Talking to them once isn’t enough! Check in with your kids from time to time. Let them ask questions and keep them updated on what’s going on about reopening, vaccines, school, etc. Be mindful of what they might be hearing or seeing on the news. These things can be scary for children, so ask them what they’ve heard about or what they might feel concerned with.
5.Socialization. One of the hardest things that kids are experiencing is the lack of socialization. It is a key part of their development. If there is another family that you feel comfortable with, set up bike play dates or outside play. Make sure they’re safe and wash hands frequently!