Coronavirus (COVID-19) | A Guide for Parents
Coronavirus is an evolving international health concern. Around the world, people are being affected in many ways. Individuals of all ages from numerous nationalities are being diagnosed with the virus – it doesn’t discriminate. Although children are considered to be at lower risk, they are not immune to the multitude of news reports regularly in the media.
This pandemic is a cause for great concern to parents, but it is also very worrying for young people. Many adults are wondering how to discuss this pandemic in a way that will be reassuring to their children, without making them feel more worried than they may be already. Below are some general guidelines for talking to young people about COVID-19 that may help reduce anxiety.
Try not to ignore the issue
No matter your child’s age, the issue of COVID-19 is present in their social world whether you talk about it or not. If you, the adult, can provide a supportive environment at home to openly discuss these issues, it provides a safe platform and reduces anxieties. Avoiding this topic could cause anxieties to heighten.
Get a sense of what your child knows
Check in with your son to see where they are at first. That way you are more able to meet their needs based on what they bring to the conversation. You could ask them what they know, what they have questions about, and what they are worried about.
Provide helpful information, based on facts
Share factual information from reputable sources. There are a lot of rumours or information with unknown sources being shared online. Rationalising these with statistics or factual information will reduce anxiety. Some places to get updated information about COVID-19 are:
Monitor your son’s feed
While it is important to stay informed, reading articles and watching videos on COVID-19 for hours a day can be distressing and even traumatic. Monitor and limit how much media content your son is absorbing.
Normalising and validating feelings
It is important for young people to know they are not alone in their feelings. Many people are feeling fearful and confused during this time. Listening, paraphrasing and acknowledging young people’s thoughts and feelings will allow them to process, and possibly assist in managing, some of their fears.
Provide structure and routine
In times of uncertainty it is especially important to provide a stable structure for young people to manage their anxiety. This can provide comfort and reassurance during a very unsettling time where many things may seem out of their control.
Rational, big picture thinking
For a lot of our boys, events such as sports or social gatherings may be suspended or postponed during this time. This could cause distress for some, and create a negative outlook on how they view the world. Over time, this type of outlook could have an impact on their motivation and engagement. It is important to acknowledge these disappointing outcomes, but rationalise that, in time, it will return.
If you feel that your son’s mental health is being negatively affected by the breakout of Coronavirus, please encourage him to seek help through one of our school psychologists or an external agency. If your son is coping well, you could encourage him to look out for his mates. During times of crisis, everyone responds differently, and it is more important than ever to be looking out for each other.
Please feel free to contact us:
Ms Tessa Prior | firstname.lastname@example.org (Conlon, Quinn, Lacey, Green)
Mr Greg Cameron | email@example.com (Brennan, Aungier, Tevlin, O’Connor)
Ms Alex McCredie | firstname.lastname@example.org (Junior School)
To access immediate or crisis support, please contact:
- Kids Helpline | Call 1800 55 1800, or visit kidshelpline.com.au for support via online chat
- Lifeline | Call 13 11 14, or visit lifeline.org.au for support via online chat
- BeyondBlue | Call 1300 22 4636