Speaking to Your Student about COVID-19
Concern about coronavirus can make both children and families anxious. It is important that we communicate to our students the facts about the virus in an age-appropriate way and reassure them that they are safe at home.
Here are some resources to communicate with your student about COVID-19:
- National Association of School Psychologists: Talking with Children about COVID-19
- This article provides some guidelines to communicate what is happening with COVID-19.
- Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus
- This article and video provide more tips on how to talk to your child about coronavirus.
Helping Students Cope with Stress and Anxiety
This disruption to routine and the overwhelming level of information about COVID-19 can result in students feeling stressed and anxious. It is important to give your student a sense of control by including them in positive meaning-making about the situation and brainstorming ways they can spend this time in a positive and productive way. Encouraging your student to find ways of helping others during this time can frame this time of uncertainty as a time of growth.
Articles about managing stress and coping with anxiety:
- CDC: Managing Anxiety & Stress
- CDC: Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
- SAMHSA: Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
Resources to help students cope with stress and anxiety:
- GoZen: Programs to Manage Stress & Build Resilience for Kids
- Mindfulness Exercises for Kids & Families
- Body Scan Meditation for Kids
- Child-Mind Institute Parent Resources for Coping with COVID-19
- A Holistic Resource Guide for Parents During COVID-19
Setting Limits to Television and Social Media Access
During times like this, processing too much information from media can cause more panic and anxiety in students. We recommend limiting the access your student has to media to allow your student space to process all the information and to ask questions. Here are some guidelines for creating a media contract with your student:
- Set family expectations for all devices - whether it is the TV, tablets, computers, or cell phones, set clear expectations about the use of devices and be a role model for your students.
- Guidelines about when and where the device can be used - although this time away from school and work can be stressful, it can also be a time to reconnect as a family. Set guidelines about not using phones while eating meals together or before bed.
- Encourage your student to stop and think before they post - misinformation can result in more panic during this stressful time. Encourage your student to research before reposting anything or to think about if that information will be helpful to others or have negative consequences.
- Respectful behavior and completing online school work earns more privileges - in an effort to motivate students to complete the online school work they are receiving, technology privileges can be used as a reward.
- Have open communication about media content - be open about the information you are aware of and have open discussions with your students about what is going on currently as we are getting new updates each day. If there is a question that you don’t have the answer for, research the information together on reliable websites or news outlets.