How to Talk to Kids about the Pandemic

04/10/2020

Dr. Doug Miller offers seven tip to help kids cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HI PARENTS. THIS IS DR DOUG. I WANT TOPROVIDE YOU SEVEN THINGS THAT YOU COULD DO TO HELP REDUCE YOURCHILD'S ANXIETY ABOUT COVID-19. NUMBER ONE:  MEET YOUR CHILD'SCONCERNS WITH VALIDATION AND COMPASSION. IF THEY'RE COMING TO YOUWITH THEIR CONCERNS AND THOUGHTS ABOUT COVID-19, HOW ABOUT AWILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY WITHOUT OVERREACTINGWITH YOUR OWN EMOTIONAL REACTION. THAT'S LIKELY TO SHUT THEM DOWN ANDBE LESS LIKELY TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT FUTURE CONCERNS. BUT ALSO HAVE AWILLINGNESS TO REALLY CORRECT ANY SIGNIFICANT MISCONCEPTIONS THATTHEY MIGHT HAVE. NUMBER TWO: STICK TO DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATEFACTS. YOU KNOW, IT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENTALLY FOR MANYKIDS TO BE WATCHING THE NEWS RIGHT NOW. YOU ALSO WANT TO REALLY LIMITHOW MUCH EXPOSURE THEY HAVE TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND THOSE ADULT-LADENCONVERSATIONS THAT YOU ARE HAVING. IT'S PROBABLY MORE APPROPRIATE FORYOU TO HAVE SOME OF THOSE CONVERSATIONS WHEN THE KIDS AREN'T AROUND.

NUMBER THREE: REASSURE KIDS BY EMPOWERING THEM, EMPOWERINGTHEM TO GET INVOLVED WITH HELPING TO CREATE A SCHEDULE AROUND THEHOUSE, BUT ALSO BY GETTING KIDS INVOLVED AND TAKING ACTION THAT HELPSTHEM. TAKE SOME LEVEL OF ANXIETY AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING WITH APURPOSE. AND BY DOING THAT, BY GIVING THEM A SENSE OF PURPOSE, THATHELPS REDUCE THAT ANXIETY. NUMBER FOUR: EMPHASIZE KINDNESS. REALLYPRAISE AND ENCOURAGE AND REWARD ACTS OF KINDNESS THAT YOUR KIDS AREDOING FOR OTHERS IN THE HOUSEHOLD, BUT ALSO GET THEM INVOLVED INDOING ACTS OF KINDNESS FOR THOSE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND IN OURCOMMUNITY. NUMBER FIVE: MODEL POSITIVE BEHAVIOR. YOU KNOW, KIDS LEARNAN AWFUL LOT BY WATCHING US, AND WHEN MOM AND DAD ARE DOING THINGS TOTAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES BY EATING RIGHT AND GETTING GOOD EXERCISE ANDGETTING ENOUGH SLEEP. OUR KIDS ARE SEEING THAT AS MOM AND DAD AREOKAY, IT HELPS THEM FEEL MORE SECURE AND REDUCES THEIR ANXIETY, BUTALSO TEACHES THEM FUNCTIONAL WAYS TO COPE WHEN THEY, TOO, ARE FEELINGSTRESSED OR FACING SOME LEVEL OF CRISIS.

NUMBER SIX: CREATEFUN WAYS, KID FRIENDLY WAYS TO LEARN THINGS LIKE WASHING YOUR HANDSFOR 20 TO 30 SECONDS. MAYBE YOU WASH YOUR HANDS TOGETHER WHILESINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY OR THE ABC SONG. AND LASTLY, NUMBER SEVEN:MONITOR ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN YOUR CHILD'S MOOD OR BEHAVIOR. IFTHESE CHANGES RAISE CONCERNS FOR YOU, THEN IT'S PROBABLY WORTHREACHING OUT TO YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN OR PEDIATRICIAN. THIS ISAN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO BE A REAL LEADER FOR YOUR KIDS, AND WECOULD ALL BE BETTER LEADERS IN OUR HOMES AT THIS TIME. I'M DR DOUG.BE YOUR CHILD'S HERO.

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