What do we tell the children? Coronavirus and kids

Russell Green, National Lead Psychiatrist for Health in Justice at Care UK Healthcare is with us again this time helping us with the difficult conversations we may be having with our children around Coronavirus.

We do our best to protect our children from the difficult things that happen out in the big, scary world. But with Coronavirus and social distancing affecting every aspect of our and our children’s lives with school closures and staying in, hiding what’s happening from the kids is not an option.

Even young children know the whole world is going through a difficult time. Pretending nothing is happening won’t help them and won’t work.

So what do we say to our kids about it all?

Firstly, children of different ages will be able to understand the current situation at varying levels so it’s best to let them guide the conversation.

Ask them what questions they have about what’s going on and give them the space to vocalise their concerns or worries.

If they are old enough, direct them to the NHS website where they will find the latest advice and information, or read it with them and be there for any questions they may have. You may not have all the answers – no one does – but working together to find out the answer will help to make them feel supported and more secure in these uncertain times.

Avoid telling them not to worry, instead show them practical ways in which they can move on and carry on with their day-to-day lives despite their worries.  

There isn’t a perfect answer but be honest, keep it simple, admit what we don’t know and reassure them this will end.