How To Help Children With News Anxiety
With the pandemic so prevalent in the news, it’s only a matter of time before your child hears about it. Adults aren’t the only ones worried about what a pandemic means for the world.
Children have big fears and big questions about what’s going on in the world around them. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly how to help them.
Here are a few helpful tips.
Avoid News/Dramas Around Kids
Even for adults the news right now can seem scary. There is a level of uncertainty to what is happening in our world right now and how it will affect us.
It’s also a good idea not to watch intense dramas, especially ones that feed on the news and current events for the storyline, around your children. These shows often feature worst case scenarios and can blur the lines of fact and fiction.
Remind Them That They Are Safe
Remind them that the government’s job is to keep it’s people safe. Let them know that there are people working tirelessly to help keep people from getting sick. There are also people who are taking care of those who do end up sick.
Let them know you are also working hard to keep them safe. Let them know any precautions you are taking. Remind them that you are going to keep doing everything you can to keep them healthy.
Let them know what they can do to help stay safe. Teach them to wash their hands properly. Teach them to cough or sneeze into their elbow (we call this a “vampire cough” because it looks like we have a pretend cape).
Provide them with a small hand sanitizer bottle if they can use it properly. Let them see you or even better, help you clean the house.
Be An Open Line of Communication
If they have fears, address them. Allow them to talk to you without judgement. Don’t be dismissive of their fears, but rather remind them that is a natural thing that keeps us safe.
Remind them that they may come back to you if they want to talk about things more. Don’t be afraid to provide answers to older children, but remain appropriate for the younger children.
Keep Disruptions To A Minimum
Disruptions are likely to happen as schools are closed and towns are put on lockdowns. Try and keep the rest of life as normal as possible. Keep meals at the same time, as well as bed times.
Acknowledge that there may be some changes that happen like getting groceries delivered instead of going to the store, or school closing for a few weeks. Don’t make it scary, but preparing them for this may soften the anxiety if it does happen.
When something scary happens it’s hard to be reassuring when you’re unsure yourself. The most important thing you can do as a parent is just be present for your child.
Let them talk openly. If they come to you, put down your phone or turn of the TV, give them your full attention. Listen to what they say completely. Don’t worry if you don’t have the answers- just remind them you are there for them and be as comforting as you can.