Talking to your Anxious Child about COVID-19: Tips for Parents and Caregivers from our friends at NOSP
The following is information from our friends at North of Superior Programs (NOSP)
The growing concerns about COVID-19 are certainly prevalent in the media, social conversations, and the thoughts of most Ontarians. What information we do have is being used to make ever-changing decisions as parents and organizations about how best to keep people safe. Along with all of the information, there is also an abundance of unknowns and quite possibly fears.
Children and youth who have an anxiety disorder may find the information about COVID-19 in the news and around them especially worrisome. It would be most beneficial for them if the information is presented in a calm, structured and realistic manner. With that in mind, for many children, the most reassuring way to manage this information is in conversation and relationship with parent(s)/guardian(s).
Begin with informing yourself. You can find up to date information about symptoms, prevalence and current recommendations from your local public health unit or the Ontario Public Health. The World Health Organization and Government of Canada are also providing large scale updates. Remember, choosing responsible sources for your information demonstrates to your child how to make good choices around media and information gathering.
Focus on the details that are most relevant and/or things that you and your child can control. Limit conversations with/around them about things they can not control or help with (i.e.- lost wages for parents, a family friend who has travelled, a classmate that may have been exposed, etc.).
“Anxiety makes us overestimate risk and underestimate our ability to cope.” ... “The goal is to help your child realistically evaluate risks based on available information.”*
- ‘Brains On’ (A Podcast for kids) - Understanding Coronavirus and how germs spread
- WHO Infographic - Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
- MPR News - Comic about Coronavirus for Kids - based on an NPR interview Psychology Today
- Article: How to talk to Kids and Teens about the Coronavirus
- Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation - Helping Children and Teens Cope with Anxiety About COVID-19
- CDC - Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children