The novel coronavirus is creating chaos in our lives. Between people losing their jobs, stores selling out of many items, and lockdowns in place over much of the country, stress levels are high. Unfortunately, it isn’t just affecting us. Our children are also being forced to deal with the repercussions of this pandemic.

With schools closed, the normal routine of children across the country is in disarray. You can also bet they are paying attention to how we are reacting to the disease and the world around us. If we’re upset, chances are they are too. So how do we help our young ones handle this pandemic?

Jamie Howard, from the Child Mind Institute, is giving us a few tips on how to talk to our children about the novel coronavirus. It is important to share facts with your child, while being reassuring to ease their anxiety.

Children often express their fears in ways that we may not immediately recognize. Here are a few behaviors to look for which may indicate your child is suffering from anxiety:

  • Worry/sadness
  • Irritability/acting out
  • Crying
  • Avoiding activities they once enjoyed
  • Reverting back to old behaviors, such as bedwetting
  • Headache/body pains

We need to set a strong example for our children to latch onto right now. By talking to them, explaining the preventative actions they can take and remaining calm ourselves, we can help ease their fears and keep them safe.

Remember, as afraid as they may be, they are looking to us for strength and stability. We are the ones they need to be able to trust to “make it alright” even if we have no idea just how we’re going to do that. Our job isn’t to join in when emotions overwhelm our children, but to encourage them and demonstrate healthy ways to manage those emotions… even if that means having a good cry before tackling another task.

Thank you to our friends at Modern Survival for contributing this piece.