Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Child psychologist Dr. Jamie Howard, Director of the Trauma and Resilience Service Child Mind Institute, offers some valuable insights on how to talk to children about COVID-19 in a way that is reassuring during these stressful times.

These excerpts were taken directly from the Child Mind Institute website: 

  • Encourage children to ask questions and try to answer with fact-based information that is reassuring.
  • Don’t avoid questions you cannot answer. Be comfortable with saying “I don’t know.”  Teaching children how to tolerate uncertainty is key to reducing anxiety and helping them build resilience.
  • Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information that can be overwhelming. Try to answer your questions honestly and clearly.
  • Invite your child to tell you what they know about coronavirus and how they feel. The goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
  • Deal with your own anxiety so you can respond calmly when talking with your child. Be reassuring.
  • Help children understand that very few kids are getting sick, and that they are unlikely to catch it.
  • Focus on safety measures. Kids feel empowered when they know how to keep themselves safe, especially by wearing masks and washing hands frequently with a 20 second song they can sing while washing. Keep talking.
  • Let your kids know that you will keep them updated as you learn more. Most important is keeping the lines of communication open.

GMS staff greatly appreciates parents’ support in helping our school community stay safe by ensuring children are tested and will remain at home if there is any health concern related to COVID-19.