Tips on how to talk to children about what is happening.

Tips on how to talk to children about what is happening.

By: Dr. Francisco González, SER Psychologist from Puerto Rico, San Juan Center

Talking about the situation that is occurring, the effects resulting from it and the changes that continue to occur during the management process is a way to keep family members informed and reduce the anxiety that this process generates in us. Although it can be helpful to plan a conversation, it can often come up spontaneously during everyday activities. Below we offer useful recommendations when carrying them out:

  • Start the conversation by identifying what the child knows and thinks about what is happening.
  • Children should not be forced to speak; accept their decision and assure them that you will be available to listen and answer questions.
  • Children can present a variety of concerns and these can vary according to the age of the minor; their thoughts and emotions should be listened to and respected.
  • Use simple explanations to provide the necessary information and encourage the use of questions to clarify doubts.
  • Always remember to temper your responses to your child's developmental level.
  • Recognize that children, especially those with cognitive or communication difficulties, may have difficulty understanding the information provided or require more time to process it.
  • Use open questions to expand on a topic and reflective questions to help them think about the topic.
  • Accompany the information with visuals or demonstrations when appropriate.
  • Develop games, songs or other fun strategies to teach prevention measures.
  • Avoid including unnecessary information and limiting unnecessary access to social media that may cause fear or anxiety.
  • Information to be shared:
    • Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to other more serious conditions. COVID-19 is a new type that has not been previously identified.
    • It spreads from person to person; the best prevention strategy is to avoid exposure.
    • There is currently no vaccine or cure.
    • So far, it seems to affect children less. However, those with pre-existing conditions may be at higher risk so consultation with your medical team is recommended.