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How to Answer Your Child’s Questions About Coronavirus

“Are we going to die?”  

“Will we go to school again?” 

“When can I have my birthday party?”

Raise your hand if it has felt like you’ve answered 5 million questions before 10 a.m. every day since this whole thing began!! If you are lucky enough to have a school-aged child at home, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

While some questions are easier to answer than others, all are worthy of some kind of response and that’s what’s exhausting. Not only is this situation draining for you, but it’s also impossible to have all the answers your child so desperately demands! And the truth is, that’s OK!   

You don’t need to be a coronavirus expert to answer all of your child’s questions. Instead, use the 5 steps below to acknowledge and respond to your child’s questions when you don’t have the actual answer.

5 Steps to Answer Your Kid’s Coronavirus Questions:

  1. Turn Toward. Turn your body, your gaze, and your attention fully toward your child. This way, you not only hear their words, but you also see the emotional cues in his/her body language.
  2. Give Verbal Responses. To show that you are listening, say things like  “Okay,” “I hear you”, “Uh-Huh” and “I see”.
  3. Encourage Conversation. Get them to elaborate. For example, say “Tell me more” or “What makes you ask that?” Getting your child to talk more may give you insight into their thoughts, emotions, and concerns.
  4. Stay Present. Put your phone and other distractions down for the moment. Nothing says “you are important” like complete, undivided attention.
  5. Validate. Make sure your child knows that their words and emotions are important. Match his/her mood and energy level. If he/she is sad, be sympathetic. If they are worried or anxious, be comforting. Holding your child’s hands or patting them on the back are good encouragers,  but also allow the conversation to continue and progress.

 

Here’s a scenario that shows how these 5 steps can work for you and your family:

Damon:  Mom, will I ever go back to school and see my friends?

Mom: I know it seems like it’s been a long time since you’ve been at school with your friends.  What do you miss most about school?

Damon:  I miss playing in Center time with Taylor.

Mom:  Missing our friends can make us feel sad. What do you do in Center time with Taylor?

Damon:  We build with the blocks.  And laugh a lot!

Mom:  Since Taylor can’t be here, could you show me how you guys build with the blocks?

Damon: YESSS!

You may not have the answers to all of your child’s questions, but the good news is you don’t need them! By using my 5 steps above, you’re hearing, validating and comforting your kid(s) — and that’s what’s most important during challenging times.

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” -Mr. Rogers

About The Author

Deena Davis is a counselor in Cedar Hill, TXDeena Davis, LPC has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2006 and has worked with special needs children and their families for over 20. Deena became a certified Autism Specialist in 2014. Since then, Deena has specialized in counseling individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and also those with emotional disorders. She works at Lifeologie Counseling Cedar Hill and is taking new clients.

She is accepting new clients at Lifeologie-Cedar Hill. Click here to schedule an appointment and learn more.