Talking to Your Child About Coronavirus and Helping Teach Coping Skills

March 25, 2020

I have been asked by several people, “should I tell my child about what is going on? What do I say?” The short answer is yes. It’s important to give your child an explanation why they are not at school and how they can help protect themselves.

One of my first tasks as a school counselor this week was to share resources with families and create a video for my students discussing worries. Since I share counseling topics on my blog every now and then, I decided to share here too.

How to talk to your child about coronavirus

This article by the Momentous Institute gives parents specific talking points and a great way of explaining what is happening. The biggest takeaways are:

  • Ask your child what they have heard
  • Explain what is going on
  • Ask them how they feel
  • Assure them you are doing your job in keeping them safe
  • Give them a chance to ask questions

The National Association of School Psychologists shared some specific guidelines that are incredibly helpful too. Some of these include

  • Remain calm and reassuring
  • Make yourself available
  • Avoid excessive blaming
  • Monitor TV and social media viewing
  • Maintain a normal routine (to the extent possible)
  • Be honest and accurate
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Review & model basic hygiene practices

Do yourself a favor and read through these two articles.

Age- Appropriate videos

There are tons of videos circulating around for kids explaining and talking about the virus. I think these two are wonderful.

Younger kids

One of my favorite authors, Julia Cook, has a book called “The Yucky Bug” that she wrote for this. It describes what kids can do to keep themselves healthy and safe and is perfect for kids 3-9.

Older Kids

BrainPop is a great resource for finding videos and activities. Right now, they have free subscriptions for everyone. This video doesn’t need a subscription, and it is age-appropriate and scientific. Check it out, and sign up for a subscription while you’re at it. There’s a lot to discover.

Coping with worry

It doesn’t matter how you explain it to your child, they may still be very worried about the virus, school, family members and friends. This is where coping tools come in to play.

Check out my 10 minute lesson on coping skills for worry.

In short, most of the things we worry about are out of our control. When that’s the case, we need to come up with some tools to keep in our toolbox to help us when we feel overwhelmed and worried. Save this list of tools, print it, keep it on your phone or your child’s device. Remind them when they feel worried to choose a tool. It would even be great if you do a few together.

Photo from Whitney Cress

Free resources to check out

Here are a few apps and tools that help with coping as well as promote mindfulness.

Yoga/Calm Apps & Tools

Stop. Breathe. Think.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Calm App-


Lunch Doodles with Mo (live daily @ 12pm)-

Julia Cook Facebook Live Read Aloud Info (live Mondays & Fridays @ 9:00am):

I hope this helps! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

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