The new “normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic is round the clock briefings on how fast and furious the virus is spreading. The details can be too much for many, including children. Even adults can be overwhelmed with the hourly updates provided by every news outlet, on radio and even on social media.
Because there is so much “unknown” about this virus and it’s impact, helping children to feel safe, and secure is important. Talk with your children about the fact that this medical situation is new and that many health professionals are working to find solutions. Share only sound bites of information in doses that they can understand. They may have worries about their grandparents becoming sick; Children may wonder if their parents who may still have to go to work daily, will come home with the virus.
Have a family meeting and talk to your children. What questions do your children have about what they are hearing, and take steps to answer honestly, within reason, for what they can understand. If you are all home together, practicing social distancing, be sure to limit the amount of media that your children have access to. This may be the time to put the tablets and mobile phones away and find alternative board games, books, music and puzzles to complete.
If your children ask for television, perhaps family movie afternoon or evening could turn into some family fun. Limiting the hourly news feed will give everyone in the family the break they need and a chance to focus on fun as a family.
For additional information about how to tell your child about closure and postponements of some of their favorite activities, be sure to read, watch, or listen to “Talking to Your Kids Who Are Missing Out on Big Moments.”
Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.