This is tip two in a series from pediatrician Dr. Ray Fabius for families on maintaining health and wellness at home or on the front lines. Find more tips and actionable advice on our Dr. Ray resource page.
A tip for families on managing children’s anxiety about coronavirus
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has good advice for parents on this topic. Children can pick up on worries and concerns of the adults they are with, so remaining calm and reassuring is essential.
A great way to reduce anxiety is to talk about the issue openly as a family. Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Certainly, avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma. Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
It’s important to monitor TV time when kids have to be home all day. When they do watch, make sure it’s on a schedule and age appropriate. Fortunately, there are many children’s video platforms that are also educational.
Always provide information that is honest and accurate. It’s okay to say you don’t know something or that doctors don’t have the answer yet, but you can look it up on the internet together. All discussions should reinforce that the everyday actions you do to reduce the spread of germs make you a hero!
Educational activities to help children understand
- Look up the answers to children’s questions together on the internet, but always be careful to access age-appropriate sites from the search results. When searching try including in the search how to answer the question “for children.”
- Set a time up every day to review questions your children may have. Encourage them to keep a journal of them if they can. During mealtime, try to talk about happier topics and plan fun things for when this is all over.
- Talk about what doctors and other essential workers are doing to treat and protect people. Doctors and hospitals are caring for sick people and trying to find medicines and develop vaccines to make this virus go away. Everyone else is staying in their homes, not just us.
Resources to learn more about this topic