How to get CHATTY with your child about the Coronavirus

We understand that many parents will be thinking about how to talk to their children in a reassuring way and answer the many ongoing questions they might have about the new coronavirus. Your children will be looking to you for comfort and support. One of the most important things to remember is that during this time you should talk to your child and be open and honest about the situation to help prevent them from feeling anxious.

Our highly experienced Head of Safeguarding, Lisa Brown, shares her guidance on how to get CHATTY with your child to help relieve any anxiety they may have about the new coronavirus.

CALM may not be how you are feeling during these difficult and unprecedented times but, try to remain calm around your child to help relieve any anxiety that they may be experiencing. 

HONEST conversation with your child is essential. It’s probably not possible to protect children from the news about the virus, as dependent on their age, they may be accessing it across multiple platforms particularly online (internet and social media) and television. It’s best instead to talk to them at their age appropriate level about what is happening, what they have seen or heard and discuss how they are feeling and what may be concerning them. Depending on their age look together at carefully chosen reliable sources of information. It is ok not to know all the answers, just be honest with them ´I don´t know but, we will try and find out’

ASSURING your child that as a family you are going to look after each other is also crucial. Explain that few children have been taken seriously ill with the virus and if they were taken ill you will be there to look after them. Also, if you or any adult in their family becomes ill that there is lots of support available to help them, so they don´t need to worry. In many countries people have been coming together to give applause for health workers and key workers, you can explain that these people are here to help us all.

TOGETHER as a family, school community and beyond is how we are all approaching this time. So, talk to your child about all the ways you are going to get through this time together. For example by maintaining routines, including attending their school lessons to help ensure their ´Amazing Learning´ continues, taking practical measures like washing hands and social distancing, or staying at home and explaining the restrictions in your country and why they can´t go out of their home at this time.

TREATS during this time are important. This doesn´t necessarily mean spending money. It’s about spending time together and having fun doing things within the current restrictions that you can enjoy together as a family. Allow time for this and arrange fun activities to look forward to. Try things like playing games together, baking – you could even turn it into a ‘bake off’ style competition, find safe ways of doing things you would usually do outside, inside, like, a teddy bears’ picnic in the living room, football with a balloon and playing golf with ping pong balls into a cup! Go online and look for some inspiration, the internet is full of ideas for indoor activities or talk to friends and family for inspiration. Most importantly, have some fun! You may find your child will look back at these times with great memories of the time you spent together.

YOUR self-preservation during this time is vital too. Take time to look after your own wellbeing, having some quiet time for yourself. Explaining to your child that you need this time is fine. Don´t put yourself under too much pressure to get everything perfect, particularly with the many pressures of working from home, cooking, cleaning and overseeing schoolwork etc. It´s ok to sometimes feel down, scared, or anxious about what is happening but talking about it with others who you trust is important. There are lots of support mechanisms available if you are unable to speak to your close family and friends about it.

You can visit our wellbeing page which has some additional resources and support mechanisms that you may find helpful during this time.

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