Supporting Your Student’s Social-Emotional Health- Talking about COVID-19

As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear.

While watching TV or browsing online, children may see conflicting messages regarding COVID-19 and its spread. It is more important than ever for parents to stay informed and stick to facts when talking to their children about the virus.

As a parent, you can help ease your child’s anxiety about COVID-19 by:

  • limiting your child’s exposure to media on TV and online
  • relying only on highly trusted sources of information
  • staying up to date on the latest news in order to answer your child’s questions
  • continuing to practice good personal hygiene as a family

In a recent article in TIME Magazine, Ellen Braaten, co-director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital says parents should be mindful of what they communicate depending on their child’s age and personality. Doing so will help parents decide whether more information will help them cope or make them more anxious.

Here are resources for you to use to talk with your scholar about COVID-19:

Harvard Medical School How to Talk to Children about the Coronavirus Provides tips on answering questions from children related to the Coronavirus
National Association of School Psychologists Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource Talking points include positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. Additional links provided in the article.
Department of Human Sciences, University of Verona Coronavirus Public Health Emergency: Psychological Tips for Children and Adolescents’ Emotions Infographic identifying types of emotions felt during this time, along with do’s & don’ts for coping and seeking help.
NPR Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus Comic-style, information overview for kids explaining the facts about Coronavirus.
SEL4TX Social and Emotional Learning Supports for Children and Young Adults Around Covid-19 Uses Social Emotional Learning competencies to provide support for children to understand current situation of the Coronavirus.
Cyberbullying Research Center Coronavirus, Online Learning, Social Isolation, and Cyberbullying: How To Support Our Students Provides tips on maintaining digital safety during social isolation.


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