*Talk about it when they want to talk about it. Don’t bring the subject up until they ask questions…which they will. Look at this time as an opportunity to help them get the facts right and to feel informed, not frightened. Reassure them with fact-based information.
*Find out what your child thinks they know to enable you to squash any myths they have picked up from school, news, social media and friends.
*Talk to them in an age appropriate fashion, you may need to adjust for each member of your family. Don’t overwhelm them with loads of stuff. Answer their questions honestly and if you don’t know an answer you can investigate together from a reliable source.
* If they are worried reassure them. Kids don’t seem to get as sick as adults, let them know this. If you are having to self-isolate, make sure you have plenty planned for them to do. It will be a difficult time for all the family. If you are able to plan now for isolation perhaps buy some board games, stock up on Google sites that might be useful etc. You won’t want to be doing this if you are sick yourself.
* Make it clear to them the measures that they can take for themselves. Show them how to wash their hands properly. See if they can think of songs/nursery rhymes that last for 20 seconds they can use instead of Happy Birthday…each time you wash your hands you must use a different one! Join in and let them see you doing the same as them.
*Explain to them the benefits of not being in a group and why it is important to stay your distance from other people.
* Deal with your own anxiety! Kids will take cues from you and your body language, they will know if you are unduly worried, this in turn will worry them.
* Keep talking, this is not a one-off conversation, things are changing fast and your child will be picking up new information and have new questions every day. Answer them honestly and reassure them. It is important for them to be able to talk to you and to learn how to think things through.