Has the coronavirus outbreak raised anxiety and fear among your children?

By Erika Rivera 18 March 2020

Has the coronavirus outbreak raised anxiety and fear among your children?Learn what parents, teachers, and child care providers can do to minimize the tension and bring comfort and ease to children.

As the circumstances circulating the coronavirus continue to emerge, so does the fear and tension of people worldwide. And although the conditions that accompany this pandemic can be easy to handle for an adult, children, on the other hand, may have trouble accepting or facing the reality they're living.

Keep reading to learn what you can do to approach a fearful child and decrease anxiety and panic during this pandemic:

Remain calm and reassure them everything will be ok

It’s easy for children to get worked up when they’ve learned that the world is facing a disease that can negatively affect their lives and the lives of those they love. For this reason, it’s crucial for parents, teachers, and child care staff to target these students and take some time to promote ease and calmness. Make sure that when you’re speaking to a child, you use body language that reassures them that everything will be ok. Keep in mind that children are smart, and they know when things aren’t well, so ensure that you express yourself in a positive tone, and your facial expressions are removing their doubts and fears. Our facial expressions can convey tons of emotions, so make sure you’re instilling peace and hope.

Be available to answer questions

As the news continues to bring forth new information, and people continue to talk about what they’ve learned and share their opinions, you may notice that children may have questions or concerns about the matter. Making yourself available to answer questions can help children to be more accepting of the world around them while, in turn, feeling more relaxed about the situation. Most of the anxiety that emerges in children is usually due to the lack of knowledge about a matter. Giving them enough information about COVID-19 can help clear their concerns so that the circumstances can become well known to them, and sudden news or changes don’t come as a shock. So, make sure you’re available to answer their questions.

Monitor what children see or hear on television, radio, or online and encourage indoor activities

An overwhelming amount of information on the same topic can lead to panic and anxiety. Monitoring your children and reducing the time they spend on any platform can help decrease anxiety in children. Make sure that you’re encouraging sources of entertainment that can feed their mind with positive information like educational library books, fun crossword puzzles, or educational board games. These activities can encourage children to shift their attention to something positive and help eliminate any negative thoughts.

Give children information that is honest, accurate, and easy to understand

Always consider a child’s age when teaching or explaining the coronavirus. Breaking down the information into terms that they will understand can help children perceive the facts so that there are never any gaps in their comprehension. It’s also wise to explain to them that not all sources on tv or the web are reliable. This can teach them that there are stories that can’t be trusted, which can aid in eliminating fear or tension that is brought on due to false information.

Continue enforcing everyday actions that reduce the spread of COVID-19

The best precautions we should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to keep enforcing safe and sanitary measures like frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, keeping areas disinfected, and avoid touching your face to keep you healthy. These actions not only keep you disease-free, but also shows children that standards are being enforced for the health and safety of everyone and, in turn, reduce their fear of the coronavirus outbreak.

Click here to download the fact sheet provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.