Talking with kids about COVID-19

The library may be closed and people are staying home, but it doesn't mean parents are alone in trying to keep their children feeling safe and keeping anxiety at bay. There are several resources to help parents navigate talking with their children about the coronavirus, school closures, and no playdates. The Child Mind Institute, a national nonprofit whose focus includes children and families struggling with mental health, has suggestions to help.

  • Don’t avoid talking about the coronavirus since most children will already have heard something about it.
  • Share developmentally appropriate information and take your cue from your child. What does your child know, what questions do they have, how are they feeling.
  • If you're anxious, it's not the right time to talk with your child. What can you do to alleviate your own worries?
  • Be reassuring.
  • Routine is important. 
  • Keep talking.

Visit Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus for more in depth suggestions as well as their Supporting Families during COVID-19 page with other tips such as how to make home feel safe and how to avoid passing anxiety on to your kids. Information is also available in Spanish.

Here are other resources to help you talk with your child.

Coronavirus: A book for children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts, illustrated by Axel Scheffler and with Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling, serving as consultant. The book is aimed at elementary school children.

Talking to Children about the Coronavirus: A Parent Resource. From the National Association of School Psychologists; available in multiple languages

Coronavirus video from BrainPOP. An entertaining, basic explanation of COVID-19 and needed precautions for elementary age children and young teens.

Comic from NPR. Basic information for youth in a graphic format that can be read in the Blog or downloaded and folded into a zine.

COVID-19 Time Capsule. Created by artist Natalie Long to help families with children during this time. Children can record how they're spending this time as well as how they are feeling. 

Oregon YouthLine. Teens helping teens. Resources on their website as well as open daily from 4p-10p via text, chat, or call. 

Coronavirus: What Kids Can Do. Kids Health has information on COVID-19 for children in English and Spanish and available in audio.  Other sections of their website have information for parents.

Coronavirus Social Story. Little Puddins Blog has a nice, English language "Coronavirus Social Story."

Multnomah County Library has digital resources for you and your child. Below are stories about worrying and resources about practicing mindfulness that may help during this time. For more, check out our E-books and more page.

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