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Talking to children and young people about coronavirus

Not knowing what to say is ok

Remember this isn't a normal situation. There are lots of unknowns right now and we will be in situations that none of us have had experience of.

 

Be honest and factual

It's a good idea to give children factual information. This might mean checking current UK advice and guidance so that you are aware of the current situation. Sometimes if there are gaps in a child's understanding of something, they can fill these gaps with their imagination, which has a tendency to suggest things are worse than they are!

 

Give children the opportunity to explain their understanding

This will help you to spot if a child or young person has misunderstood something, or is thinking the worst.

 

Remember your child's age

Adjust the amount and detail of information according to your child's age. Too much information can be overwhelming. Try to answer the questions they ask.

 

Try to manage your own worries

If you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try not to have a conversations about Coronavirus at that time. Children will pick up on your anxiety in the moment, and it may heighten their own emotional reactions. It's OK to feel worried, but check in with yourself first - are you in the right space to have this conversation?

 

Give practical and specific guidance

Explain how viruses are spread, and help children to understand that they can do things to help. Learn how to wash your hands together, explain how soap is effective against viruses, sing a song while you wash your hands.

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