Updated: Mar 21, 2020
It is really important that our children don't become scared of this virus, by openly communicating with your child and explaining to them what is happening you can inform them in a calm and constructive way. There will be a lot of scary things being said in the media and its important that you reassure your child that they will be ok.
Inform to protect:
Everybody knows that children are germ bags and easily spread unwanted germs among their peers and bring them home. This could make elderly and vulnerable members of the family very sick so it is vital that we inform children of the importance of handwashing and good hygiene practices.
Talking to your child about the coronavirus:
Don't be afraid or anxious to talk about the virus, children can easily pick up on your emotions (see 'Coping with coronavirus anxiety') so you should aim to be calm and present your child with the basic facts. There is no need to go into too much detail if they don't ask you to, by telling them large figures and death rates you would only unnecessarily scare them.
You want your child to feel that they can talk to you about the things they hear related to the virus. You should ask your child how they feel about what they have heard and process the emotions together. (See 'Books to encourage positive mental health in children' for help on talking about difficult subjects).
Explain to them how unlikely it is that they would become really ill, it is much milder in children and is the equivalent to a common cold (thank goodness).
Invite your child to join in on the safety and hygiene procedures that you are doing, maybe even make a game of it! This will reinforce the message that they are safe.
This is a very difficult time for all of us and its important to keep your child feeling safe, secure and happy. Remember not to panic and to carry on your normal day to day life as much as possible and to keep a regular routine for your child.