How to Reassure Your Child about Corona Virus

kid overhearing parents

So, what’s the difference between the coronavirus, a hurricane, tornado, and climate change?

Potentially, not much. If you live in Oklahoma and its tornado season, then you’ve got some things to be thinking about. Likewise, if you live in South Carolina and it’s August, a hurricane could arise at any time. Moreover, if you think like Greta Thunberg, well, the world is a very scary place.

What’s the answer?

Children who struggle with anxiety will worry, that’s what they do; they will find things to worry about and will assume the worst is going to happen. So, in all these situations, no matter if it’s over some virus or the weather, or someone is ill, or it’s an extra warm day, the answer is the same:

  • Prepare and take precautions
  • Use a reflective listening approach to help your child feel understood. If you’re not sure how to use reflective listening, see my prior post on that subject, and check out the book ‘How to talk so kids will listen, and how to listen so kids will talk’ by Mazlish.
  • Clearly express to your child that you have the situation under control
  • Convey to your child the nature and specifics of the precautions
  • Communicate to your child the reality of the situation (what could potentially happen) but how to keep things in perspective given the probability and precautions
  • Express to your child that the chances of anything bad happening, no matter the hype, is actually quite small
  • Also communicate that, even if something happens, you’re prepared accordingly
  • However, also conveyed that ‘life happens’ and there are no guarantees but that you’ve got the bases covered
  • Remind your child that, no matter the situation or outcome, there is a really big and powerful God who tells us, ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you’, Isaiah 41:10
  • After you’ve provided a clear, concise, and reassuring response, have your child recite your response, then distract and change the subject.

Hope that helps

God bless you and your family through this trying time. Feel free to comment on my Facebook page and don’t hesitate to reach out if your child is having an especially difficult time.

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Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).