Explaining Coronavirus to young children

Taken from the Rochester Diocese web-site:

How do we explain Covid19 to our children?

This is a lovely booklet to print or read on the screen to help parents as they talk with their children.

Some suggestions on how to talk to your Children about Coronavirus:

  1. You need to do what you need to do to stay informed.
  2. But then turn the TV off. Children don’t need to see the constant media coverage, rising death toll, or photos of the empty store shelves. Too much information, and false information can cause their fears to grow.  You have the ability to protect them from that. As you educate yourself and as the situation changes, be sure to repeat these steps. This should be an ongoing conversation with your kids, and not a one time talk.
  3. Ask your children what they already know. They will already have some information. It may not be correct, but it will help you guide the conversation once you know what they already know. Talking can also be a good way to help them process what they have heard, and what they think about what they have heard. As you listen, you will also be better prepared to guide the conversation to help them navigate this the best way possible.
  4. Be honest with yourself first. We are in uncharted territory. The events of the last few weeks are unprecedented. You don’t have anything in history, recent or past, to compare to. And it is that unknown that is causing the fear which is leading to panic. Stores are selling out of toilet paper, and that just doesn’t make sense. Your children will ask you questions you don’t have answers to, because you have questions yourself you don’t have answers for. So when you talk with them, be honest.

You don’t know all the answers and that’s ok to admit to your children.

  1. Now think about if from your child’s perspective.  They are often afraid of the unknown. They are going to take a lot of cues from you during this time as well. Do what you can to not show them your fears. Helping your children identify and talk about what they feel will help them to process the entire situation. They may not know what they feel or how to express it.  To some children, this virus is just something that happened—it is bad, people get sick and some have lost their life, but after mentioning what they know of the situation, they are ready to move on with their day.  But your child is an individual and so are their reactions, and that may change.  Use what you know about your children and their personalities to help them through this potentially scary time.
  2. Pray – we are not in this alone we are being held by the creator of the universe – and that may be a hard conversation to have. So pray - for the safety our friends and family, and also for those affected by the virus. Pray for God to help you not be afraid. Pray for wisdom for our leaders who have to make difficult decisions.