How to talk with your children about the coronavirus

Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 2:13 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Life is changing by the hour for people across the United States, and children will most likely notice this change.

In North Carolina, children are out of school and wondering why they are no longer leaving the house or following their normal routines.

Licensed professional counselor Mary Krenzel treats both children and adults at Bloom Counseling and Wellness in Wilmington. She also has a North Carolina School Counseling license.

Krenzel says it is important to address what is going on across the nation in a way that is age-appropriate for your child.

“They’re going to start to wonder why these changes are happening so we do need to have conversations about why is the rhythm of our life different? But we can have that conversation in a very simple language that is appropriate for the age of the child and keep it very factual and concise,” she said.

Krenzel stressed that it is important to normalize family life as much as possible and explain the situation in a way that aligns with your family’s specific plans.

“I could use language like ‘We have a concern in the country right now and the best thing that we can do is...’ and then we fill in the blank with what we have chosen to do within our own household. There are households where some people need to work and we want to address that. We want to talk about these are the things we’re doing to increase our ability to be well and keep ourselves and our family and friends healthy," she said.

She says it is also important to answer questions, but not give too much information for young children.

“When we’re talking with children about anything that is worrisome to adults we want to be clear and concise. So we want to be factual with our information but not give too many details because then children’s imaginations will start to kick in.”

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