How to Talk to Young Children to Help Them Understand COVID-19
The recent pandemic has been challenging for everyone but has been particularly confusing for young children. It’s difficult for younger children to understand why they can’t suddenly see their friends as often or why everyone is wearing masks in public. It’s important to try and talk to your children to help them grasp what is going on and adjust to this new way of life we are all experiencing. By following these tips below, you’ll be able to help your kids understand to the best of their ability what is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understand Their Worries
When talking to your children, it’s important to take the time to listen and validate their concerns. There’s nothing worse than brushing off a young child when they are feeling upset and overwhelmed, so take the time to listen to them when they are worried about what’s going on. Be careful about what you discuss around your children, and try to minimise their consumption of news where possible. Certain scenes and facts are best avoided with children unless it’s relevant to your local area and their life currently.
State the Facts Clearly
Once you’ve decided what you do and don’t need to share with your young children, ensure you state any facts clearly and accurately to your kids. There’s no point sugar-coating important information. When telling young kids that they can’t do something at the moment, explain why this is and that their health and safety is your number one priority.
Don’t Get Their Hopes Up
We all hope that this year our lives will return to some form of normality, but as the pandemic is constantly developing, it’s best to avoid getting young children’s hopes up. Don’t promise a large birthday party or family vacation if that is looking unlikely at the current time. Try to focus on realistic goals and events that are almost guaranteed to go ahead. By finding fun local places to visit that your children can look forward to going to, you’ll minimise the chance of disappointment and upset in the upcoming months.
After a day at school or time spent speaking to their friends, young children will likely have many questions going round their head about the current situation. Ensure you ask them if they have any questions and set time aside to answer them one by one. Reassure your kids that you are always there for them and that they can ask you questions at any time. Don’t make them feel silly for asking something that may be of huge importance to them, and instead, treat every concern they have equally and with patience.
The past year has been an incredibly trying time for many families, and it’s still extremely hard for young children to understand the changes to the world around them. By offering an ear to listen to their concerns and taking your time to answer all of their questions, you can minimise their fears and help them feel confident and calm even during times of uncertainty.