The news about coronavirus is everywhere from the television to daily conversations. It is important for children to understand what the coronavirus is and is not. Kids hear conversations of adults, the news, friends, etc., and they internalize fears due to misunderstanding. A great website that provides tips about how to talk to your child about the virus is www.kidshealth.org. A few suggestions from the Child Mind Institute this week on how to make your children feel safe at home are listed below. The institute suggests five tips:

• Be predictable and consistent

• Be responsive

• Be nurturing and affectionate

• Model calm reassurance and thoughtful problem solving

The Child Mind Institute is a great resource during these stressful times for families. The web address is www.childmind.org/coronavirus.

There are numerous resources out there. Some of my tips from previous columns are important to remember.

• Listen to your children, talk with them about their feelings. Help them understand that these feelings are normal. Help them find healthy ways to express those feelings.

• Keep a schedule! This is so important in so many ways.

• Get outdoors and keep moving. You don’t have to be around people … plant seeds, garden, walk, play, fish.

• Explain what is happening and why. It is important to provide facts in a developmentally appropriate manner.

• Read, play games, learn new skills that are important in everyday life. This includes sewing, cooking, gardening, household chores, etc.

• Respond, do not react. Kids will be “acting out” sometimes as their anxiety levels go up. Reflect what they are saying, reflect their feelings. Talk about solutions to problems.

Keep up with your child’s school and the district. They will be putting out important information providing ways to keep your child engaged while they are at home. There is much information out there on how to work with your kids during these stressful times. One of the most important pieces of information: practice some good self-care! Take some time for yourself each day … you cannot help others if you are depleted of all resources. That is proactive parenting.

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