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How To Talk To Your Child About Covid-19 And The Lockdown

04/27/2020

There is a lot of advice online about ways to discuss Covid-19 with your children, so I have summarised the main points.

YOUR EMOTIONS: Before talking with your child, make sure that YOU have addressed your own emotions and worries first and are looking after your own mental health. As Brené Brown states in her book, ‘Rising Strong’,

‘When our children sense something is wrong…or when they KNOW something is wrong…they quickly jump to filling in the missing pieces of the story and because our wellbeing is directly tied to their sense of safety, fear sets in and often dictates the story….emotions are contagious and when we’re stressed or anxious or afraid, our children can be quickly be engulfed in the same emotions.’

BE HONEST: As with any difficult issue or event, it is always best to be as honest as you can be with your child, to prevent them from ‘filling in the missing pieces’ or look for the answers themselves. Keep the tone of your conversation light and let them lead with the questions. Look at some of the facts together as a family and avoid watching/listening to the news around younger and/or anxious children.

KEEP IT APPROPRIATE: When answering your child’s questions, be mindful of their age, development and needs. For younger children or for those with SEND, visual explanations, such as www.mindheart.co/descargables can be helpful. For older children and teenagers, Young Minds and Newsround have useful and appropriate information –

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51204456

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/

GIVE REASSURANCE: Explain to your child that it is ok and normal to feel worried, but reassure them by showing them how you and your family are protecting yourselves and others – washing hands, socially distancing, etc. You could also focus on finding ways to support others at this time, from putting a rainbow picture on your window to helping a neighbour.

The UK charity, Young Minds, have lots of advice and support for parents on concerns related to Covid-19

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/supporting-your-child-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

For more information or questions about this topic or any others mentioned, please get in touch.

APCAM (Assisting Parents of Children Affected By Mental Health) is a charity based in Oxfordshire, who do amazing work to support families who are struggling with mental health and emotional difficulties. More information can be found at https://apcamgroup.org.uk

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