Talking with kids about COVID-19

Siblings sitting on sofa between parents and enjoying their conversation.

We have received a lot of questions from parents asking about better ways they can talk to and support their kids during the current pandemic situation. One of the key issues we all share is the disruption of regular routines. For instance, school closures, loss of work, parents having to work from home, loss of regular recreation options, and limited visits with friends and family members have been a challenge for all of us to cope and manage with. Children are experiencing the same feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that many adults are facing.

Here are some tips gathered from a Provincial Guidance Document on how to talk to your kids about COVID-19:

  1. Get informed. Keep up to date on important information that’s accurate and reliable. In Chatham-Kent, you can use our CK Public Health COVID-19 page, the Province of Ontario, or the Federal Government of Canada websites. Be sure to limit your news consumption and be mindful of taking breaks and being present to your kids needs.
  2. Focus on the details that are most relevant and/or things that you and your child can control.
  3. Limit routine changes where possible and create predictable schedules around meal times, physical activity and screen time.
  4. Take time to validate their concerns with your words and attention. Be a good role model and share your thoughts and feeling to help elicit and discuss theirs.
  5. Review good hygiene practices (washing their hands, coughing/sneezing into their elbow) and reinforce these through daily activities.

Do you want more information or need further supports?

Here are some additional options available for children and youth:

Chatham-Kent Children’s Services Walk in counselling service Phone or video conference

Kids Help Phone Text, phone and chat supports

Other mental health supports