Here are five strategies to build resilience and have reassuring conversations with children.
Stay Positive: Remember to stay calm. Children are intuitive and can easily pick up on the worries and fears of the adults around them. If you show anxiety or fear, child will mostly likely also feel nervous and afraid. Changes to the environment and routines can create uncertainty. Having calm, open discussions can ease emotions around these changes. Continue to check in with how children are feeling. Acknowledge and address their worries rather than ignoring them.
Stick to the facts: It is important to have thoughtful conversations regarding the coronavirus to distill anxiety, worry, or fear. Examine the facts from a reliable source such as the WHO. Consider the child’s age, processing, and emotions to determine how to frame these conversations to ensure children understand. Let them know that the adults are doing everything they can to contain the spread of the virus and help those that are sick. Reassure children if they have additional questions you can look to find the answers. Check in on what children are thinking and address their worries. Discuss that not everything they hear or see is real. It can also be comforting to be reminded that doctors around the world are looking for ways to address the coronavirus and highlight positive news as well.
Consider Media Consumption: When looking online, consider the source and double-check to prevent fake news, and think before sharing. Be mindful of how much media you are checking and minimize how often you are reading stories. Try to keep a healthy balance (both online and offline) in your daily routines and lifestyle.
Eliminate Stigma:It is important to be aware of how the coronavirus is explained to children to avoid any person/group being blamed. Also, to communicate that if someone has a fever or cough does not mean this person has the coronavirus.
Boost Your Coping Strategies: Change or uncertainty can create some levels of worry or anxiety. When the worry becomes too big it is important to recognize and manage these emotions. There are a variety of strategies to calm emotions or modify thinking to improve outlook and overall well-being. Coping strategies can include: positive self-talk, singing, dancing, reading, drawing, music, movies, creation of a gratitude list, meditation, yoga, coloring, exercise, cooking/baking, talking to a friend or family member, or doing other activities that are fun or provide joy, improving general well-being.
A small dose of worry is a normal. Continue conversations providing care for children. If you find additional support is needed, please reach out to one of the school counselors
who can refer you to outside counseling or to schedule time with you or your child to make a plan on how to support them during this time.
-taken from Shanghai American School