Continuing the conversation with your children regarding COVID-19 can seem confusing and stressful at times. With as much fear and anxiety as adults feel, remember that children have their own concerns that they need help processing. With mindful, age appropriate conversations and positive behaviors, some of the fear and anxiety your children feel can be minimized.
Model positive behavior with appropriate coping skills, to help reassure your children that they are safe. Be understanding of their mistakes, such as forgetting to wash their hands, and use it as a teaching moment. Avoid overly scaring them with potential consequences, as it can lead to more anxiety.
Keep the conversation age appropriate with brief explanations of the situation, tailored to their age level. Avoid having adult-level conversations around children, as to not overwhelm them with too much information. To help reassure children, let them know that doctors and experts around the world are looking for solutions and will let us know when life will begin to look normal again.
Encourage kindness to all people, even when your children might feel afraid. Remind them that not all people going to the doctor’s office or who wear a mask are sick with COVID-19. Also, reassure children that everyone is trying their best to stay healthy and it’s not anyone’s fault if they do become sick.
Empower your children by teaching them the simple steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which can help them feel less anxious. Coaching good behaviors in your children such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and thorough hand-washing can provide a sense of control over the pandemic.
Look for behavioral changes such as sleep, appetite, interest in socializing with friends or excessive “good behaviors” like handwashing, which may be signs that additional help may be needed. If basic stress reduction techniques don’t help ease some of the changes or anxiety, it might be time to reach out to your EAP provider.
Your call to your EAP is confidential and the help is free. Call your BHS Care Coordinator today, at 800-245-1150, to discuss available options.