Health First Gives Advice on How Parents Should Talk to Their Children About COVID-19

By  //  April 2, 2020

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Best Practices to Help Your Kids Feel Safe and Provide Comfort

Your children are hearing about COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on our communities and hospitals. (Health First image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Your children are hearing about COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on our communities and hospitals.  

Parents are now being forced to provide reliable and trustworthy information to help ease anxiety and concerns. 

“As parents, we act as a guide to help children make sense of the world around them,” said Dr. Joseph Sin, Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center’s Inpatient Psychiatrist.  

Some parents might be unsure on how to talk to their kids about COVID-19. With it being on social media, the news and school announcements, parents who avoid the talk are a few steps behind, however, it’s never too late to catch up. 

“The role parents play in helping children make sense of what’s going on with COVID-19 is crucial,” Dr. Sin said. “They should use developmentally appropriate language, be honest, offer reassurance and explain what is being done to keep them safe.” 

Easing a child’s fear and anxiety is important during this time of uncertainty. One effort to help minimize this problem is for parents to reassure that health experts are working around the clock to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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Helpful phrases parents can say to their children are: 

• “Right now, it’s important to understand what COVID-19 is and how we can help protect ourselves.”

• “It’s important that we talk about our worries or concerns.” 

• “Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom.” 

• “The reason why we’re practicing social distancing is to help limit the spread of the virus so that things can get back to normal.”

Also, it’s vital to reassure them that hospitals and doctors are highly trained to treat people who get sick.

Comfort is another added element parents should establish to help their child feel safe. 

“Follow their lead and let them discuss their thoughts and feelings, and when they do, it’s important to recognize and validate them,” Dr. Sin said. “Help them find ways to make decisions and have control in their schedule, but don’t forget to take time for yourself.”  

Parents might feel uneasy when saying, “I don’t know,” and there is nothing wrong with that. This is the perfect time for you and your child to bond while finding the answer together, he said.  

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