Helping Pre-schoolers cope with COVID-19

News of the Coronavirus is everywhere.  It is vital it is filtered appropriately for pre-schoolers.  Below are some tips to help pre-schoolers cope with COVID-19:

  1. Give children an opportunity to ask questions in a relaxed manner.  This will minimise “scary” thoughts.
  2. Talk to children in an age appropriate way.  Don’t give too much information i.e. don’t talk about deaths etc.  One example would be to say, “Coronavirus is like a cold  and most children don’t get very sick.  We can help to stop it from getting to our friends and family by washing our hands, coughing into our arm, and sneezing into a tissue”.
  3. Be aware not to transmit your anxiety onto children; be a calm role model.
  4. Children may ask questions like, “why can’t I have a birthday party or why can’t I see my grand parents?”
    Sample response, “there is a cold going around.  So that the cold doesn’t spread to our friends and family we have to stay home for a while.  It’s like when it’s raining and we can’t go to the park. We have to await until the rain stops.  Now we have to wait until the cold passes.  Then we will all be able to have fun together.
  5. Keep children connected to friends and family online.  Feeling isolated can create anxiety and depression.
  6. Reassure children this will pass.
  7. Focus on action plans i.e. practice washing your hands while you sing the ‘happy birthday’ song twice.  This helps children to feel empowered and safe.
  8. Stick to a routine.  A predictable environment assists children to feel safe.
  9. Stop children’s exposure to news coverage and hearing adults talking about COVID-19.
  10. Provide physical activities.
  11. Be sure to have “spoonfuls of fun” in every day!

Robyn Taylor
BA(Macq), MA(Syd), Dip Clinical Psychology(Syd)