Barnardos issue Coronavirus
guidance for parents
charity has issued guidance to support parents when
talking to their child about the Coronavirus.
Guidance and Support for Parents:
With news of the Coronavirus dominating headlines,
social media platforms and conversations across the
country, your child is likely to have already heard
information about the illness. Your child may be
trying to make sense of this information by
themselves and be feeling worried or scared. In the
absence of definitive information, some children can
imagine situations are far worse than they are.
1. Keep calm.
Check in with yourself, how are you currently
feeling? When parents are feeling anxious children
can notice this and begin to feel stressed too. If
needed, take some time for yourself or talk to
another adult about your fears before talking to
2. Talk to your child. As parents, we
instinctively want to protect children from things
that might frighten them; however not talking about
something can make children more scared. Ask your
child to tell you what they have heard about the
virus and ask them how they are feeling. Let your
child know that they can ask you questions. If you
do not have all the answers, that is ok, tell your
child you will let them know when you know.
3. Answer questions. Many children will have
heard about the virus and may already be asking
questions. This is an opportunity to talk openly to
your child and to share fact-based information.
Answer your child’s questions in language they will
understand with a level of information appropriate
to your child’s age. Avoid sharing too much
information, as this can be overwhelming.
4. Create a safe environment. Your child
might be worried they will catch the virus. To
reassure your child talk to them about everything
you and they are doing to stay safe, for example
washing their hands, using and disposing of tissues
etc. Try to limit your child’s exposure to news
reports and discuss your worries outside your
5. Maintain a daily routine. A consistent
daily routine is very important for children as it
creates a sense of stability and predictability.
This will be of particular importance if your
child’s school or crèche closes. Keep the days
structured with consistent mealtimes, playtime,
6. Reassure. The best way you can support
your child whenever they are feeling anxious is by
reassuring them. Tell them you understand how they
are feeling and let them know you are always there
to listen, support, take care of them and give them
a hug when needed.
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