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Coronavirus - Talking to children

Children will have heard about Coronavirus and it is important that they hear the key messages from someone they trust such as yourself.  Here are some tips to help.

Time to Come in Bear video story for young children

10 Top Tips for Parents and Carers

Guidance for parents and carers in the event of school closure due to Coronavirus

The situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented, and we are all working out how to process and deal with the practical and emotional impacts.

Children and Young People look to adults to help them work out the seriousness and ways of dealing with challenging situations. They will be looking at and learning from your response(s). Seeing you staying calm and resilient will be crucial in helping them feel reassured, contained and able to cope with the circumstances.

It is very important to maintain structure and routine for your child whilst schools are closed. Below are some tips that will help you to maintain your child’s health and well-being.

  1. Reassure children that they are safe, but that it is OK to be upset

    Provide opportunities for children to be honest about their feelings. Listen and explore these questions with them. We need to help children understand their feelings and emotions, by using emotion language and giving them an emotional vocabulary, we are enabling them to understand their feelings and other peoples

  2. Maintain a normal routine

    Set times for getting up and going to bed for your child and have regular times for meals

  3. Build in time for fresh air and exercise as far as this is possible

    Exercise releases natural hormones which helps us respond to stress and anxiety

  4. Structure your child’s day so that they have a variety of activities and break times

    Create a menu of activities that your child can do during the day

  5. Make a daily plan of activities

    Plan these with your child the night before so that you and your child know what is happening the next day

  6. Review the day’s activities and talk about what they have done

    A sense of accomplishment is important for children and young people

  7. Make Monday to Friday different

    Make sure that there is a structure and routine to activities Mon-Fri similar to a normal school day. Also, make sure that the weekend remains the weekend!

  8. Decide when and for how long your child will have access to electronic devices and for what purpose

    Agree with your child how long they can spend on electronic devices and for what purpose – learning or leisure. It’s important to have a positive balance.

  9. Place an emphasis on resilience and strengths

    Help your child to understand their many strengths and abilities to help them cope if they are feeling anxious or upset. Encourage opportunities for your child to maintain social contact with friends wherever possible – via phone, social media etc.

  10. Look after yourself

    During times of stress we are more vulnerable to illness. Make time to do things that help you feel calm and build this into your own routine.

Remember that your child will be learning from your response to handling this situation. Seeing you staying calm and resilient will be crucial to helping them cope with the circumstances. 

Illustrated Stories

Sometimes it’s easier to tell a story with pictures.  Below are two beautifully illustrated stories to help your younger children understand Coronavirus and self-isolation.

Dave the dog is worried about coronavirus cover My name is coronavirus cover

Click to download Dave the Dog is worried about coronavirus PDF

Click to download My name is Coronavirus PDF

Information for Teenagers

Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak

Click here to download Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak

Tips for Teens

Tips for teens infosheet

Click here to download a PDF with hints and tips for talking about the coronavirus with teenagers

Some helpful links

SAMH - Scottish Mental Health 

There are things we can do to look after our mental wellbeing during this time. On this page, we are gathering the information, links and resources that we can, to help keep you informed and protect your mental health. Click to read more… https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing

Mental Health Europe

Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help you better cope with the COVID-19 threat and the uncertainty it’s creating. There are many ways to keep a sense of control in order to ease coronavirus anxiety. Click to read more… https://www.mhe-sme.org/covid-19/

Mind

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. This information is to help you cope. Click to read more... https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

Contact: Psychological Service
Tel: 01592 583349
Email:psychological.service@fife.gov.uk