For parents dealing with disruptions to everyday life brought about by COVID-19, these are challenging times. Schools are closed, parents may be working from home or concerned about their own jobs, and so much seems uncertain. Thankfully, there are resources available to help parents deal with some of these common challenges.
“How do I talk to my kids about COVID-19?”
Children are naturally curious and perceptive, and will often look to their parents – and other adult authority figures – to help them understand and make sense of what is happening around them. This is true now more than ever, as the spread of COVID-19 brings so many changes into children’s lives so quickly. Parents are often the first and most important source of information, and they can do a lot to help their children develop a positive, resilient and resourceful mindset.
There are a growing number of helpful resources on the internet. In particular, Spring ISD counselors have recommended resources from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and PBS, including Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource [PDF] and How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus, which also contains additional links to online programs and other resources to share with your family.
Here are some key tips for parents to keep in mind:
- Be as calm as you can. Children and teens are great at reading how their parents feel. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.
- Answer their questions, even if the answer is “I don’t know.” Right now, some people are sick. Most, however, are not.
- Tell them adults are working hard to keep them safe and healthy. Teach them what they can do to stay healthy, such as washing their hands and covering their cough with their elbow or a tissue instead of their hand.
- Turn off the technology. Seeing too much news coverage, too many social media posts and too many web pages about COVID-19 can make both parents and their children anxious.
- Make a routine, and do your best to stick to it. If possible, try waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. Eat meals at the same time. Have everyone bathe and dress as if going to school or work.
“What if I need a little help myself?”
The COVID-19 closures, cancellations and quarantines have put a lot of pressure on both children and adults. For those who may have lost income – or who are just feeling overwhelmed – 2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, helps Texas citizens connect with the services they need.
You can dial 2-1-1, or 877-541-7905, to find information about resources in your local community. You can also search online at www.211texas.org.