How to talk to your children about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Knowing that the children we care for are viewing some difficult to watch scenes online or on TV, hearing news on the radio and from other people, we are, like you, concerned about how they are coping. As adults, it’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed by the fast pace of the changes occurring around us. So, it’s understandable if our children are feeling anxious too, so here are some tips on how to talk to your children to help them comforted and assured.

1. Speak to them and listen.

Help them feel that their concerns have been heard. Let them know it’s natural to feel scared about these things.
Give them your full attention, and make sure they know they can talk to you and their teaching team here at
Arethusa whenever they are ready to talk. Children have the right to hear truthful information about their world,
but it’s important we keep them safe from distress. Age appropriate language, being mindful of their reactions
and sensitive to their anxiety will help them gain an understanding of what is going on and why, without
distressing them.

2. Allow them to ask questions

As the impact of Coronavirus is changing every day in Australia, we may find it hard to keep up with information
and advice and we don’t have all the answers. If your children, like ours, ask a lot of questions, too many to
answer, why not explore the answers together? The UNICEF and the World Health Organisation are both great
sources of information. Of course, some of the information found online are not accurate or helpful for our
children to learn from. This is a time when we can model to our children trust in the experts.

3. Help them protect themselves and others

If your child does not feel well, explain to them they need to stay at home as it is safer for their friends. Reassure
them that you know it is hard, or possibly even boring, but following the rules keeps everyone safe. Remind your
child that coronavirus has nothing to do with what someone looks like, where they are from or what language they
speak. Every child deserves to be safe at school, at home and in the community.

4. Practice good hygiene

Taking actions ourselves also helps us to cope in times like these. Here at school we are encouraging students to
wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (three “Happy Birthdays”), not touch their faces, and cough or
sneeze into their elbow or use a clean tissue which is then popped into the bin.

5. Offer reassurance

Please assure your child that their Arethusa community is 100% behind them, as always. We know we will come
through this difficult time together as a community and look forward to being with your child throughout their
Arethusa journey.

6. Look after yourself

Lastly, dear Parents and Carers, we urge you to look after yourself at this time. No doubt you have a number of
responsibilities you are juggling, and more demands than is usual. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take time
for yourself, do things that make you feel relaxed and safe, like gardening or reading,reach out to other family, friends and
trusted people in your community. Our Chaplains are always available for parents to talk to as well as students.