These months have been extremely daunting for all of us. The lack of assurance about our safety and livelihood amidst the ongoing crisis can lead to frustration and anxiety. As the news of the pandemic rules the television and social media conversations, your kids may be experiencing much stress as well. And they can worry more if you continue keeping them in the dark. Therefore, you have to communicate the news of COVID-19 in the best way possible.
According to child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, Jamie Howard, Ph.D., “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” Relaying to them valuable and factual information allows your kids to have a sense of direction and lessen their worries in these trying times. But how do you talk to them without adding fuel to their fears and frustrations? Here are some of the tips you can follow.
Level With Your Kids Knowledge
Depending on your kids’ age level, ask questions fitted to their current capacities. Construct your questions in a natural and calming manner. For example, ask them what they have heard lately about the new sickness, or their thoughts about people wearing masks. You can also ask them their reasoning on why they have to stay at home for a while. In this way, you can get to know how much your children understand about the pandemic.
With many media outlets available to us in this day of age, you have to be mindful of your kids’ source of news. You can discuss this with them so that they will have reliable information. Since you’re the one relaying the details, you have the power to filter the news appropriate to your kids’ age level as well. Avoiding the conversation can make them worry more.
Provide Sincere And Honest Answers To Their Questions
You shouldn’t provide more information than what your kids would like to know. Instead, try to answer your children’s questions with honesty and clarity. It’s okay if you can’t answer all of them, the important thing is to show them you’re available in talking with them. Only get information to credible organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Kids can easily pick up fears from their parents. Therefore, you have to talk to them calmly and reassuringly. As much as you have anxiety as well, allowing your kids to panic won’t do any good to your family. Don’t get upset and use a calm voice. Be emotionally available to your children’s emotions and questions.
Help Them Feel In Control
Young kids do need assurance that there are ways to prevent getting sick. Remind them that getting lots of sleep and washing their hands will help them to remain healthy. Explain to your kids as well that proper hygiene, social distancing, and protective wear prevent the spread of diseases to other people. With this, be a good role model and show your kids that you are following proper guidelines during this crisis too.
Do also tell your kids that people are assisting and saving people’s lives. It may give them comfort to know that doctors are treating infected people, and scientists are working to produce a vaccine. If they know that things can go back to normal, they will feel hopeful for the future.
Children also have tendencies to worry more about their loved ones than themselves. Allowing them to talk with relatives and friends online can affirm them that they’re safe. Having constant communication with the people closest to them also helps them cope with the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let Your Kids Express Their Emotions
Supporting your kids to express their emotions can build their resilience. Silencing them will only create panic and anxiety. Listen to their stories, and tell them that their feelings are valid. Let your kids know and understand that feeling stressed is part of life and is relatively reasonable. Children can share with you more if you recognize their problems and feelings.
Keep Your Kids Updated
Check on your kids regarding their feelings and the information they heard or read. Offer regular updates so that they can learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic. Let them understand the precautions the family needs to take too. It allows them to know that the line of communication in the family remains open.
As we continue to live through the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, let’s not also forget how kids perceive these alterations. Proper communication is needed when situations demand us to be united. Pay attention to your emotions and the people around you. We will need each other to get through this!