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Supporting children during coronavirus

It's important to help children manage anxiety calmly without raising unnecessary alarm during coronavirus.

Helping children manage anxiety requires calmly communicating factual information, without raising unnecessary alarm. It is important that children understand the potential risks of the disease and the recommended guidelines to avoid spreading the virus. Listening and recognising your child’s concerns, without panic, is crucial.

Children often look to adults for guidance on how to respond to stressful events, so it is essential to remember the following points:

Remain calm

  • Children usually mirror your responses both verbally and non-verbally.

  • Reassure children that you are there to keep them safe and healthy.

Be honest

  • Children often imagine the worst if they are not included and told the truth.

  • Use age-appropriate language and examples that children can understand.

  • Be vulnerable and acknowledge everyone is a bit scared, but this means we are focused on being safe and healthy.

  • Reassure children that the world’s best doctors and scientists are working on a cure.

Remain available

  • Children may require more attention to discuss their fears and ask questions.

  • Validate their feelings.

  • Let them know that you are there to listen to them.

  • Reassure them that you love them and provide lots of love and affection.

Discuss changes at school

  • Reassure them that the school will send information on what they need to do.

  • Reassure them that while school may have stopped, it will start again.

Maintain routine

  • Maintaining routine creates boundaries often, resulting in a sense of control.

  • Create new daily routines at home with schoolwork and play activities.

This content was produced in partnership with Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.