How to Get the Conversation Started About Coronavirus

This is the first in a series of Blogs on the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) and your children. They were from an interview done by Yahoo News with Dr. Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center.

“Many parents/caregivers are worried that talking to young children will lead to increased worries and anxieties,” Dr. Gurwitch explains. “The opposite is actually the case — bringing difficult topics into the conversation can actually help to quiet these worries.”

You’ll want to approach conversations with your kiddos in a way that is developmentally appropriate for them; that way you’re not overwhelming them with information that they can’t quite understand.

Start by asking them what they know about coronavirus, and then meet them where they are with facts and compassion. Remember, you set the tone when it comes to your kids: They’re going to mirror the way that you act, so try to keep calm and not panic.

Gurwitch offers up these conversation starters:

  • There has been a lot of talk about coronavirus. Tell me what you know about it, OR, Tell me what you’ve heard about it.
  • Tell me what your friends are saying about coronavirus.

This gives you a chance to listen to what your child knows and correct any misconceptions and misinformation.

Some websites are providing comics that can help your children better understand what COVID-19 is and how we can reduce our chances of getting ill or spreading the virus with hand-washing and social distancing. This one from NPR is great for older kids, while this one from Little Puddings is great for younger children.

Let us help at Growing Child Pediatrics if you are having any problems with your child.

David A. Katz, DO FAAP IFMCP