As you are aware, it is impossible to escape the news of Coronavirus and the inevitable anxieties it brings. Understandably, your children might be worried about what they see, read or hear on the news and in the playground. Children look to the adults in their life for comfort when they are distressed, and will take your lead on how to view things. While you may be worried yourself, try talking to your children in a positive manner to avoid exacerbating their anxiety.
The advice from YoungMinds () is to talk to children honestly and calmly about what is happening, and to not ignore or shield them from what is going on in the world. You do not need to have all the answers but you can help to contain their fears and anxieties by being there for them. You are the expert when it comes to communicating with your child and you may want to consider the level of detail you provide when explaining the impact of Coronavirus. Just chatting and answering their questions as they arise can stop anxieties from building up.
Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time. If you have to be separated from an anxious child to go to work or because of illness, try using a transitional object (an object that you give them to help them feel connected to you in your absence). This could be a special toy, a scarf, a stone, a handwritten note or a special word that you whisper into your hand to stay connected when you are apart.
If your child is feeling anxious, try to reassure them that you understand how they feel. With older children, it may help to explain what anxiety is and the physical effects it has on our bodies so that they can begin to recognise when they are overwhelmed. Work with your child to find a coping strategy that they can use when they feel this way. Here are some ideas you may like to try:
Follow these links for advice about how to talk to your child about coronavirus:
- The BBC's Newsround has published a useful video for children called Coronavirus: Why it might not be as scary as it sounds:
- Elsa Support has produced an illustrated coronavirus story for children:
- The National Autistic Society have advice, guidance and a helpline for parents’, young people and staff:
- Place2be has produced a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family well-being:
- Young Minds offers advice about talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family well-being:
- Covibook is an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the coronavirus outbreak:
It is also important to note that while some children are celebrating the closure of school, for others it may be a strange and overwhelming time. Creating some regular routines while you are at home can help a child feel safe, stable and stay regulated. Routines don’t have to be hard work; it may just mean getting up at a regular time, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast at the same time every morning so that the children feel ready to start their day.
you start to feel overwhelmed here are some tips you could try:
- Limit the amount of times you check the news
- Turn off news notifications on all digital devices
- Ensure that any information you do read comes from reputable websites
- Protect the mental health of friends by not sharing ‘fake news’
- Talk to other people about the way your anxieties make you feel
- Take care of your body: try to eat healthy meals; exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do activities that you enjoy.
Look after yourselves and each other, enjoy family time and please e-mail me if there is anything you wish to discuss at:
A Poem to Help Explain Covid-19 to Your Kids
I bet that “Coronavirus”
Is a word you’re hearing MUCH
Making your parents really scared
And saying “DO NOT TOUCH”
Saying that we should “isolate”
Reminding us to SOAP!
But my dear one, my shining sun,
Here are some ways to cope
First of all you need to know
Our world WILL be OK!
We just need to hunker down
So the virus goes away
To stop our friends from getting sick
We need to just be wary
Stay inside to stop the spread
Y’know? That’s not so scary
Maybe it’s time while cooped inside
To explore imaginations
To draw and read and make and bead
And bring to life creations!
Maybe it’s time to learn guitar
Or time to plant some seeds
Or to dream up that invention
That solves our greatest needs
Could it be time to learn to cook
Or send your friend a letter?
Or think about all of the ways
That you make this world better
So paint a painting, sing a song,
Make your debut movie
Read a book or carve a nook
Or dance a dance that’s groovy
I know that life feels different now
And maybe kinda BORING
But remember now, my darling child
Your mind is worth exploring
Most of all you need to know
That this can’t last forever
And that even though we feel apart
Our world has come together
|Well-being Letter||[pdf 767KB]|