Counseling » Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(The following information is from the National Association of School Psychologists. Find the entire post here.)

It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If parents seem overly worried, children’s anxiety may rise. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.

Specific Guidelines

Remain calm and reassuring - What you say and do about can either increase or decrease your child's anxiety.

Monitor television viewing and social media - Constantly watching updates on the status of COVID-19 can increase anxiety—avoid this. Be aware that developmentally inappropriate information (i.e., information designed for adults) can cause anxiety or confusion.

Be honest and accurate - In the absence of factual information, children often imagine situations far worse than reality.

Keep Explanations Age Appropriate - Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe...they may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to prevent germs from spreading. Upper middle school and high school students are able to discuss the issue in a more in-depth (adult-like) fashion and can be referred directly to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Having such knowledge can help them feel a sense of control.


Additional Resources:

Harvard Health: How to Talk to Teens About the New Coronavirus

Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: COVID-19

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About