30 July 2020
Parents can help children and young people to manage the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic by talking to them about the situation and managing the information that they’re getting.
That is the key advice in new guidance developed by psychologists from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology.
With children exposed to a lot of complex and difficult information it is vital that parents manage what they hear about the pandemic so as not to cause additional worry.
This goes for both news of the pandemic in the media, and hearing adults talk about things that are affecting them during the crisis, such as the potential of losing a job.
People are often less likely to notice signs of stress and anxiety in others when experiencing those feelings themselves, so keeping vigilant and looking for these in children is particularly important at a time of increased worry for everyone.
The changes brought on by the pandemic will be affecting all children, even those who are extremely young, and it’s crucial that parents give them the opportunity to talk about their worries.
Parents should make sure that they talk to children about their own feelings, encouraging them to open up about how the situation is making them feel in a constructive and helpful way.
Sometimes a child who is asked ‘are you okay?’ might just respond that they’re fine, so it’s vital that adults approach signs of worry that they say in a sensitive way, giving the child the opportunity to talk about it.
While this is undoubtedly a stressful time for children, parents can help them by managing information they hear, allowing them time to express their feelings, and by ensuring the way adults speak about the pandemic in front of them will not exacerbate their own worries.