With Covid-19, or Coronavirus, making daily headlines, it’s fair to say everyone’s a little on edge. Whilst the emergence of a new contagion is concerning for everyone, children who are yet to develop the logic and perspective adults possess to understand situations such as these, may feel confused and fearful for themselves and their family. So what can we as parents do to support our children?

Separate fact from fiction

The Covid-19 situation is changing on a daily basis, so it’s important to stay in-touch with the latest information. Queensland Health regularly update their website and have a range of useful fact sheets about the virus, which you can access here. Understanding how the virus is transmitted and what the symptoms are will help you to address your child’s concerns with conversations based in fact, not fiction.

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Taking steps to reduce your child’s exposure to Covid-19 coverage will help to reduce their level of anxiety about the virus. This is not to say you should hide the situation from your child or pretend it is not happening; however, simply taking steps to reduce their exposure to the flood of reports will help them feel more secure. Perhaps watch a news broadcast after the children are in bed, or avoid having conversations about Covid-19 over dinner – both will serve to shift your child’s focus onto other, more positive things.

If your child expresses a concern about Covid-19, try to positively frame your conversation. Try focusing on positive outcomes such as the relatively low number of cases reported to date in Australia, or the number of people who have recovered from the virus and who are now healthy and back to their regular daily lives. Presenting information in this way has been shown to make a measurable difference in perceptions and attitudes towards health issues, so be honest, keep both your tone and the information you share with your child positive and provide perspective to allay your child’s fears. Keep the conversation light and provide your child age appropriate information and reassurance.  It is also important to focus on the things your child can control, like hand washing, correctly disposing of tissues and covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

If your child has a particular question or fear address it using factual, simple language without going into unnecessary detail.

Some useful statements and phrases include:

Reinforce hygiene basics

There are some basic hygiene rules that will serve everyone in the current environment. Revisiting these with your child will give them a sense of control over protecting themselves from the virus.

Some important rules to remember include:

For further information about the Covid-19 outbreak, please visit the Queensland Health website or that of the World Health Organisation.

If you are concerned you may have the Covid-19 virus, contact your GP or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84). If you are having trouble breathing and are in immediate danger, please call 000.

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