Talking to children about COVID, social distancing & bereavement
Updated: May 29, 2020
The experts from “What Happened to My World” by Jim Greenman have shared some tips in how to support children when explaining the Coronavirus:
Young children need accurate information with simple explanations with practical strategies and predictable routines to help them understand how to reduce the risk and support their resilience and sense of control
If you aren’t sure of an answer, offer an honest answer “I don’t know that but let’s find out” or “Let me get back to you, that’s a good question”
Be aware of your own reactions and tone of voice when explaining things to your child. It’s important to be calm by providing some practical solutions in reducing the risk.
Role model healthy self care i.e. exercising, getting good sleep and eating nutritious meals. Teach your child how to help look after themselves by washing their hands properly with soap and water, to sneeze into a bend in their elbow or a tissue and wipe their own nose followed by washing their hands.
Maintain good routines as much as possible i.e. story before bed, meal times at the same time each day. Children respond well to pictures so a visual daily routine schedule could be helpful in reducing anxieties and helping them understand what will happen in their day.
Remind children that that their family, teachers and others are there to care for them and to help keep them safe.
Find out what your child already knows and try not to overload them with new information
Give appreciation when your child has asked a question or shared some knowledge with you. “Thanks for coming to me. I always want to know what you are wondering about”
Resources: Online books
“Hello I’m a virus” – is really simple to read and well illustrated. It's also in lots of different languages including Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Greek & Hungarian.
“Coronavirus a book for children” – Gives much more detail and suitable for the older children (4-7 year olds) It has also been illustrated by Axel Scheffler!
"Don't worry little bear" is a simple, rhyming storybook to help children understand what is going on at the moment.
"Staying at home" is a lovely story about staying at home until everything is safe again
It can be quite confusing for children to understand why they can't give hugs or see those who they love.
Here's a lovely short video to watch together with your child, called "While we can't hug" - it can help your child understand what social distancing means and also puts a positive spin on what we can do instead.
Talking to children about bereavement can be difficult especially if you have lost loved ones during this time.
Some tips & resources to support you can be found below:
Scouts have shared some tips here
Child Mind Institute have some tips here
Child bereavement uk has shared tips here
If your family has lost someone during this time, please let us know so we help support you and your child - whether you are at home or attending the Nursery.
Sometimes bereavement can cause changes in behaviour, anxieties and can be really confusing for children to understand, so it's important to share any new information with us so we can best help you and your child - We are just a phone call away.