In This Section
Tips for Talking with Your Children about COVID-19
Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Child Life Specialists Hanna Gilroy and Sonya Charles offer these tips for talking with your kids about COVID-19:
- Be honest: when your children get enough of the right information from you, they will be more protected from some of the misinformation they may hear from others.
Give simple facts:
- COVID-19 is a little bit like the flu or a cold, but because it is a brand new sickness, our bodies are not as good at protecting us from it, so it is easier for the germs to move from one person to another.
- Remind children that there are lots of grownups working hard to keep them and everyone else safe.
- Validate their feelings.
Give your children jobs to help them take action:
Teach children to be “Germ Busters”:
- Practice hand washing, cough into your elbow, and stay at home.
- Teach children that being a Germ Buster will help them protect their friends, grandparents and community.
- Teach children to be “Germ Busters”:
- Let them ask questions.
It’s ok if you don’t know the answer—be honest if you don’t know, you can say:
- “That’s a really great question, let’s see if we can find the answer together.”
- “I don’t know, but I promise that I’ll tell you when I learn something new.”
How to help children cope when you are stuck at home
- Make a schedule, but let it be flexible.
- Play outside! Fresh air and exercise are important and can be done while practicing social distancing.
Monitor their media exposure:
- Turn off the news and put down your phone.
- For young children limit as much exposure as possible; for older children talk with them about what they are seeing and hearing.
- Play a game, make a fort, read a book.
- Call, FaceTime, or write letters to family and friends that you can’t see.