Usable Knowledge Helping Children Cope with Coronavirus and Uncertainty How caregivers can answer children’s questions while fostering a sense of safety Posted March 13, 2020 By Emily Boudreau and Elio Pajares Schools across the country are closing their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Children may come to the adults in their lives with questions, worries, and even misinformation they've overheard from friends. We asked Richard Weissbourd, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, to share ideas about how adults can talk to children about the virus. Below the video, some tips and takeaways. How to help your child work through fears and uncertainties Make developmentally informed decisions about what children need to know and understand in order to feel safe. Focus on creating an environment where children can ask the questions that matter to them. Reassure children they are going to be safe and that you as their caregiver will also be taking steps to ensure that you stay safe as well. Encourage compassion for vulnerable people and expanding your child’s circle of concern. Avoid stigmatization by emphasizing that getting sick is part of being human and we all need to help each other feel safe. ********* Read more in our ongoing series, Confronting the Coronavirus Outbreak, on how schools and communities can prepare and respond, support young people, build resilience, and keep the learning going. Additional Resources Talking with children about coronavirus, from the National Association of School Psychologists Usable Knowledge Connecting education research to practice — with timely insights for educators, families, and communities Explore All Articles Related Articles Usable Knowledge Playing in Uncertainty The importance of outdoor, child-centered play in helping children manage unpredictability. Ed. Magazine The Art of Talking With Children Ten ways to jumpstart conversations with kids that will help them bounce back from challenges Education Now Hope and Resilience in Childhood A discussion of concrete ways to support children and adults in developing their capacities to weather the challenges brought on by the pandemic.