Easing My Child’s Fears During COVID-19

Schools are closed in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the news, commercials and radio are all referencing how “to stay safe in these uncertain times.”

As an adult, with a fully developed brain, these are scary times.

Although my 9 year old stopped sucking his thumb during the day and washes his hand like he’s entering surgery at night in order to commence official thumb sucking time (of his own volition), I have been blessed that my kids don’t seem to be focused on the fear aspect of COVID-19, they are mostly missing their friends and missing going to school every day to escape their crazy mommy.

What should those of you do with kiddos who are truly fearful due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

I have two suggestions for you here.

  • Take a look at yourself.
    1. How are you communicating to your children about the virus (verbally or non-verbally)?
    2. Are you scared of the virus yourself?
  • What are the children being exposed to?
    1. Is the news playing a lot?
    2. Are they exposed to the new commercials on TV that seem to be mentioning scary times and uncertainty?
    3. Do the children overhear conversations about fear of infection and impending doom?

Children are like little sponges with an antenna; they will pick up on and soak up your energy so quickly. If you or someone in the home is experiencing fear in any way, I’d bet $100 your child is soaking it right up. Rather that is the case or not, here are some ways to fight your fears as well as theirs:

  • Fear is the spawn of lack of education. The unknown is quite scary. There are plenty of YouTube videos now that will help you and your family come up with an action plan in order to keep you from getting infected. Educate yourself and your child about the things you can do and what you are already doing to keep your family safe. Also educate yourself through reliable sources in regard to the recovery outcomes of COVID-19. The CDC’s website has new information every day.
  • Practice being present with your child. Sit comfortably with them, notice all of your senses together. Say out loud what you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. This will bring you and your child out of a what-if state into an “I am safe now” state. Practice saying out loud, “I am safe now, I am doing everything I can to stay safe.”
  • Limit exposure to the news, commercials and radio. This goes for you too. Your family needs some normalcy. Keep it to Netflix and CD’s for a while to get a break from the doom and gloom. Play bord games and limit their time on the internet. The more your child is connected to normalcy and positive messages, the more at ease they will feel.
  • Keep adult conversations away from tiny ears. Sometimes you just need to let all your fears out, and that is okay. The issue with kids is that they believe every word you say and take it seriously. Freak out with friends and family away from the kids or after bedtime!