How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus hit so fast. Two weeks ago, my family and I were in Miami for the NFL Players Association meeting. I attended the meetings and my wife took care of the kids, who got to lounge at the hotel pool. By the time we returned home, the European travel ban had been issued and school had been canceled indefinitely.

That’s when the severity of the situation sank in and the kids started to ask questions. We sat them down and started a conversation that has helped educate them (and ourselves) and alleviate their fears. Here are 5 things we’ve done while discussing the Coronavirus with our kids that have worked well.

Set the tone.

The best way to give your kids a sense of peace is to have a sense of peace yourself.

Remain calm. That may be more easily said than done, but it is important. Kids will take on the fear, anxiety, or confidence of their parents. Remember that your kids are watching. The best way to give your kids a sense of peace is to have a sense of peace yourself.

Be honest.

While we want to make our kids feel secure, it is much better to be trustworthy and honest than to hide details. They do need to know what is going on and the reality of it. Keeping information from them only will create more anxiety. Since my wife and I didn’t know much about the Coronavirus, we read an article by a doctor to our kids. Then we answered questions about the risks and what we will do to keep ourselves and others safe.

Check in every day.

This has to be an ongoing conversation. Make sure you check in with your kids daily. Chances are they have heard something on the news or from a friend that will bring more uneasiness. Ask simple questions, such as, “How are you feeling about everything that’s going on? Have you heard anything lately that has made you nervous or scared?”

Include them in the process of helping others.

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about caring for others, especially their siblings. Encourage them to comfort one another when someone gets upset. Teach and model patience while being in close quarters. Talk to them about regularly washing their hands and being in quarantine as ways to care for others. Tell them about ongoing efforts to provide basic needs to those impacted by this crisis.

Pray as a family each day.

This is something we do as a family every night. We pray for protection, we pray for healing for those who have the virus, we pray for those who have lost loved ones, and for the pandemic to end. We also pray for wisdom and discernment for our local and national leaders, medical personnel, and first responders, as they make decisions daily that affect millions of people. Praying every night has made our kids more empathetic to the pain of others. More importantly, praying together as a family has provided them peace and comfort knowing there is a loving God in control.

Sound off: What questions have your kids asked about the Coronavirus pandemic and how did you answer?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you worry most about?”