World War C: talking to your child about COVID-19
First, the child’s knowledge must be clarified. The child may be responding to the parents’ anxious behaviour, or the child may be concerned about things as number of death tolls, away from friends, loneliness, and the needs of others. The child then can be given repeated opportunities to talk about what they are worried about, ask questions, discuss their feelings about the pandemic and how it affects them. You do not need to always have an answer but being there to listen can go a long way.
Second, the process should have the characteristics of a dialogue and discussion rather than of a unilateral announcement.
Third, we assume that children simply cannot understand and do not want to hear the truth; they should not be told. We question the significance of such conversations; it is too much for them to understand and grasp at one time. That is not true! A discussion of this kind with the child often helps them to express some of their own concerns. It also promotes in them a feeling of trust and of being understood, as well as a feeling that they have some control over the situation.
Fourth, the child must be given hope. Even when the child is told about the current situation, child should be told that the physicians and health care providers will do everything they can to combat this situation. Stick to the facts but also let them know that you will be there for them and you will keep them safe. Limit media exposure as it can be overwhelming for children and may not always have accurate information.
Nothing is scarier for a child as their feeling of helplessness and fear of losing a parent.
For further details check IACAPAP Bulletin:
English version: “ REMEMBER “: Surviving the Pandemic with your Children
Urdu translation by ASC & SAS: Urdu version Surviving the Pandemic with your Children
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in making.. View all posts by ASC
Originally published at http://childpsychling.wordpress.com on April 1, 2020.