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Helping Children Cope with Coronavirus and Uncertainty

How caregivers can answer children’s questions while fostering a sense of safety

March 13, 2020

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.

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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.

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