How to talk to kids about COVID-19

File photo of children at a playground courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / gpointstudio

The COVID-19 pandemic is a scary time for everyone, but perhaps even more so for children.

Kids are exposed to the news and wondering why they can’t go to school or play with their friends. According to the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, parents and grandparents should be honest with kids.

“Really talk about what is happening,” said Youth Engagement Coordinator Jeff Moco. “How does that make things different for us? What questions do you have? I think a lot of times, eliciting questions from our kids and letting them reflect on their thoughts and feelings really helps them make peace with something.”

Moco said we’re in uncharted territory.

“How to best handle this, there’s really no manual for this right now. I think our family units, we have so much more extra time with each other, and how do we best maximize that.”

Spending time outside can help with anxiety, just make sure to follow social distancing rules of staying two metres apart.

“It’s a new rule of social engagement, and the weather’s been kind of decent, but getting outside on some of the trails, and kind of the more remote areas of Chatham-Kent, and just getting outside is really therapeutic for people,” said Moco.

But Moco added that it’s okay to feel uncertain.

“Acknowledging your feelings and talking about that, and deep breathing. They need an outlet to kind of just not worry about those things and just worry about playing. And how do we replace those times when we are feeling down with things that are more beneficial.”

Click here to access more resources online from Children’s Mental Health Ontario about how to talk to kids about COVID-19.