Talking to your children about Coronavirus

Information from Mental Health Foundation of NZ

Yes, absolutely talk to them but don’t overdo it.

Kids know there’s something big going on, and they’re likely to pick up on grown-up tensions, fear, stress and anxiety. That’s okay!

  • Ask them what they know and if they have any worries. Some kids, for example, might have heard the virus affects older people more severely and may be worried about their grandparents. Don’t suggest this to them but let them bring it up if they’re concerned.
  • Let them ask questions and answer what you can, but don’t give too much information. Don’t just have the kōrero once – keep checking in with them about how they’re feeling.
  • Validate their feelings – it’s okay if they’re scared, angry, lonely or worried. Let them know these feelings are normal and thank them for chatting with you about their feelings.
  • Work with your tamariki on solutions that will help them get through – what would make them feel safe and happy? What activities would they like to do at home with you or by themselves?
  • Keep the news off the telly or the radio when they’re around.
  • Make sure they know why changes are happening – why they need to wash their hands more often, why they might need to stay at home or not go to school – and point out to them that these are good things that keep them and everyone else safe and well.
  • Reassure them the people they love are doing everything they can to stay safe and you’ll get through this as a whānau.
  • Find activities you can do with them that support their wellbeing. Help them discover their strengths, do some tummy breathing or create a sensory kete/box.

Learn more about how to keep kids calm, how to help kids manage worries, how to help your kids with differences and diagnoses and other ways to support our tamariki on the Sparklers website.