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Expert Tips: Talking to Your Kids and Middle Schoolers about Coronavirus

JOIN in on the conversation in our NEW Facebook Group: BRIGHT IDEAS | Parenting in Quarantine 

We’re all looking for answers during the new novel coronavirus outbreak and so are our kiddos.

It can be tricky to talk to kids about scary or difficult topics like this, especially when you don’t have all the answers.

Related: COVID-19: Expert Advice for parents from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

So where do you begin? Luckily, you’re not alone!

There are tons of resources out there to help you through the process. Here are some of our favorite tips:

Start by asking questions.

Your kids have likely heard grown-ups and other kids talking about Coronavirus – but there is a lot of misinformation out there. Asking questions will help you understand your child’s fears and give you the chance to clarify things that might feel confusing.

Try telling a story instead of simply giving facts.

Narrative storytelling is familiar for kids and helps demystify the information.

Be open and honest but scale the amount of detail you give based on your child’s age and development.

We love the Curious Guide for Courageous Kids by the Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums. It’s free to download, reads like a storybook, and includes kid-friendly illustrations.

Reiterate that we don’t need to be scared.

We’re all working together to protect each other.

Get help from some of your child’s favorite characters!

Here are some links to great free resources thanks to PBS Kids:

  • Daniel Gets a Cold / Mom Tiger is Sick (FULL EPISODE)
  • The Man With the Yellow Hat Explains How Germs Work (VIDEO)
  • Germs! Sid the Science Kid (VIDEO)

We all feel better when we can take action.

Discuss as a family how you can help by stopping germs in their tracks. Practice good handwashing, sneeze into the crook of your arm, and stay home and rest when you’re sick.

Step by Step Handwashing with Elmo (PRINTABLE)

Elmo and Rosita: The Right Way to Sneeze! (VIDEO)

Don’t dwell on it.

Once you’ve had the discussion and answered you questions, move on to a different topic or activity and avoid discussing Coronavirus with other adults within earshot.

Kids pick up on our stress! So try to have some fun.

Even if you are stuck at home in the coming weeks, the Glazer Children’s Museum will still be a source of fun and learning for your family! We have launched GCM At Home, a new section of our website where we will post videos, printable activity pages, recipes, and other fun ideas for you to try at home.

Follow along at GlazerMuseum.org/GCMatHome

How to Talk to Your Middle Schooler about Coronavirus

MOSI has launched a website to help parents and caregivers approach the subject about coronavirus discussing Facts and Myths, Tips on staying healthy and even some really awesome experiments to continue the learning at home!

Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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