COVID-19: Talking to Children
Children, youth and families are hearing the news of the coronavirus or COVID-19 on social media, television, and from friends. Having direct conversations with children is one of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. Here is some advice from various child experts that can assist you in speaking with your child about COVID-19:
- Manage your own anxiety and remain calm.
- Visit CDC's resources for managing stress and and anxiety around COVID-19.
- You can call the Central Oregon COVID-19 Hotline to request to be scheduled to speak with trained behavioral health staff.
- Maintain healthy behaviors and routines in the home.
- Serve nutritious meals.
- Encourage adequate sleep.
- Keep routines.
- Pay attention to what your child watches on television and social media.
- Try to limit children’s exposure to media.
- Use only reliable sources for more information
- Talk to your children about what they see and hear
- Talk to children in language they can understand.
- The CDC suggests telling children that, from what doctors have seen so far, most kids aren't getting very sick.
- In fact, most people who have gotten COVID-19 haven't gotten very sick. Only a small group have had serious problems.
- Keep the conversation going. Make time to check in regularly as the situation develops.
- Take cues from your child if they become afraid or overwhelmed offer comfort.
- If you need help seek professional health.
- Avoid language that stigmatizes or assigns blame
- Remind children that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person's race or ethnicity.
- No matter where scientists first documented COVID-19, this outbreak isn't anyone's fault
- Teach strategies to prevent infection
- Remind children to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
Crisis Line/ Community Resources
The crisis line is available 24 hours a day (541) 322-7500 ext. 9 or you can call (800) 875-7364 without cost.
La línea de crisis está disponible las 24 horas al día (541) 322-7500 ext. 9 o puedes llamar al (800) 875-7364 sin costo
Centers for Disease Control Talking with Children
National Association of School Psychologist