By Guest Author, Pamela McVeagh-Lally
As the spread of COVID-19 causes more and more school closures across the United States, we, parents and caregivers, are faced with the daunting reality of needing to stay at home with our children for weeks and possibly months. While educators are working hard to prepare take home packets and online resources to support our children’s continued academic learning while schools are closed, intentionally supporting our children’s emotional well-being during these unpredictable and stressful times is our job.
With relentless, confusing media coverage about COVID-19 and discussion about it in our everyday conversations, it is important that we talk to our children about the virus and reassure them that, as disrupting as it may be, schools are closing to help to keep us all healthy and safe. Our role as adults is to offer accurate, age-appropriate information while gently correcting any misunderstandings they may have. Giving your undivided attention and really listening to and empathizing with their fears (while managing and not projecting our own), while being clear about how best to stay safe is essential. And this won’t be a one time conversation. As the situation changes, we’ll need to continue our proactive, honest conversations with our children aimed at keeping them informed but not overwhelmed. National Association of School Psychologists and Child Mind Institute have great resources to guide you.
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