Talking with Your Kids about COVID-19
Has your house been invaded by the "did-you-hears"?
"Did you hear our school is gonna be shut down for the rest of the year?"
"Did you hear them coughing? I bet they've got Corona!"
"Did you hear this will be the worst disease ever?"
Everywhere you turn, there is breaking news about Coronavirus. As we're bombarded with news, our kids are swamped with questions. When you're young, it's easy for life to feel out of control on a regular day... which only gets magnified in seasons like this.
As you talk with your children about Coronavirus, here are a few quick things to remember:
Process Your Own Anxiety First - Your kids are looking to you for reassurance, so make sure your own anxiety is in check BEFORE talking to your kids. Our kids model our behavior. Communicating in a calm manner will help lessen their fear and anxiety.
Not every child is afraid. Start by asking what their peers are talking about and what they have heard about the virus. Then, offer age-appropriate and accurate information, as needed. Many kids are unaware of the coronavirus outbreak and you may not want to bring it up as it will create unnecessary fear and anxiety.
Don't Dismiss Their Fears - If your child is worried or afraid, don't dismiss their feelings. Take the time to listen and acknowledge their fears. Communicate accurate facts when addressing their fears. A lot of misinformation is circulating.
Explain that you are trying to be cautious and wise; not acting out of fear. This situation is a great opportunity to explain that it is always best to be proactive rather than reactive. Emphasize good hygiene such as handwashing (20 seconds).
Change can be hard for many kids. Try to establish regular routines during this time of upheaval. Stick to your established schedules and routines as much as possible.
Use this time to build your family - One consistent regret
I hear from parents when their kids go to college is they wish they had spent more quality time together. We live in a world that is moving faster and faster. Families are increasingly pulled apart by so many different activities. Use this time to grow together as a family.
There are a lot of amazing resources for family activities (baking, home science experiments, family games, etc.). Emphasize the opportunity to slow down, hang out, and enjoy one another’s company.
Trust Jesus - Talk with your kids about Jesus. Tell them you are trusting God for direction. Pray with them! This is an opportunity for them to grow in their faith!
IF your kids are older you may want to talk about the fear of death. They should know that the Christians’ hope in death is Jesus. Yes, it is okay to have concern about the process of dying, but in terms of the final outcome, we have no fear because of Jesus’s victory!
Here are a few great passages dealing with fear and anxiety: Psalm 91:1-3; Isaiah 41:10; Phil 4:6-7; Romans 8:38-39.
What can you do when you’re all locked up together. Play games with your kids. Don’t be afraid to say hi to neighbors.
God Bless You,
Pastor Luke LeViere