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How to Ease Children’s Anxiety About COVID-19

One of the more difficult aspects of the coronavirus outbreak for parents is how to explain the situation to young children. While they might initially be thrilled about the idea of not having to go to school for the foreseeable future, they are likely also feeling antsy from having to be at home all day. They may also be frustrated that they can no longer spend time playing with their friends.

This can be augmented by the fact that team sports are currently banned and any other extracurricular activities and hobbies must be done at home, or not all at. Furthermore, any snippets of news that they overhear can be filled with some pretty scary information like infection and death statistics from around the world. With so many changes to their lives and uncertainty all around them, children need guidance and comfort more than ever.

If you aren’t sure about how to approach the topic of COVID-19 with your children, here are a few points that can help you ease their anxiety and restore their peace of mind.

Ask Them What They Have Heard

The first step in helping your child to better understand the current situation is to ask him or her what they already know about coronavirus and what they think about it. Depending on how old they are, they might have already gleaned some information about it from the social media or by talking with friends. It is important to find out what they know as they probably haven’t learned the whole story. Moreover, the information they do have might not be entirely accurate.

Once you have opened the topic for discussion, you can set the record straight about what the facts are and what is mere speculation and fear mongering. By presenting things in a truthful and matter-of-fact way you can help them better understand things and set their minds at ease.

If your children are too young to have really gained much information on their own other than what they have overheard in conversations between adults, you should try to keep things simple and honest. Help them understand why they must stay at home and, more importantly, explain that this situation won’t last forever.

The important thing is that by the end of your conversation your child feels protected and safe.

Help Them Feel Like They Have Some Control

No matter how old you are, one of the worst parts of having anxiety is the feeling of not having any control over your current situation. The same goes for children. While they will find comfort in knowing that you are in control and that they can trust you to look after them, it is also a good idea to teach them ways of feeling in control as well.

Teach them the proper way to wash their hands and how far away they need to stay from people outside. Emphasize the importance of getting enough sleep and eating well in order to stay fit and healthy.

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