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Model calmness

Talk to your kids about coronavirus in terms they can understand.

Article Author: Johnny Woodhouse

Article Date:

close up of young girls face and the back of her parents' heads
Parents should have frank discussions about COVID-19 with their children.

Children, regardless of their age, view parents as their No. 1 source of truth.

They look up to them for reassurance in uncertain times or situations.

That's why it's so important right now for parents to talk to their children about the newly discovered coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Children are quick to believe the bad things they hear. Better they hear frank discussion on COVID-19 from their parents, not an unreliable source.

The first thing parents can do is to model calmness.

Secondly, they can encourage their children to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces around the home
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults; however, children with confirmed cases generally present with milder symptoms. Children with underlying medical conditions and special health care needs may be at a higher risk for severe illness.

4 tips to talk to your kids

It's not easy to talk about something so scary with your children. Here are a few tips to make it a little bit easier.

  1. Correct misinformation with age-appropriate facts.
  2. Reassure them that they are safe.
  3. Let children know that experts at all levels are working on controlling the spread of this new disease.
  4. Stick to routine mealtimes and bedtimes.

Don't be afraid to admit that you don't have all the answers.

"A little anxiety is normal," said Vivian Pinner, MEd, a licensed mental health counselor with Baptist Behavioral Health. "Now is the time to be mindful, not panicked. Trust that you and your loved ones will get through this difficult time together."

If you think your child is experiencing feelings that are overwhelming or difficult to manage, talking with a Baptist Behavioral Health provider can help. To make an appointment, call 904.376.3800. For more information, visit Baptistjax.com/Covid-19.

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