With the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent school closures and additional disruptions to routines, you may find yourself wondering how to discuss these changes with your child.
Your child has more than likely noticed a change in their schedule, overheard an adult conversation, or caught a glimpse of the virus being discussed on the news. They may have questions about what's going on, but may not know how to ask them. It's imperative that as parents, you create the opportunity for an honest and open dialogue--free from anxiety-provoking rhetoric to correct any false information and to provide a sense of calm. This conversation should stem from factual information and should be presented in an easily understandable, age-appropriate, manner. Stress that as a parent, you are here to keep your child safe, and that these precautions are part of our job as citizens to make sure that others are safe as well.
Following the conversation, encourage your child to ask questions if they arise and engage in healthy behaviors such as hand-washing, wiping down surfaces, and laundry that may give them a sense of control over the situation.
Check out this handout from SAMHSA that outlines specific conversation starters, topics to discuss, and how to handle questions that our children may have.