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Experts say parents should not avoid tough conversations about COVID-19

West Virginia
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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Many people are feeling anxiety and stress as they try to adjust to a new way of life. The abrupt changes to day to day routines can be an especially heavy burden for children.

“We are explaining what a pandemic is, the history of it and the seriousness of it,” said Chris Walters. He and his wife Elizabeth are helping their kids handle the COVID-19 crisis by giving them information.

“They’ve not been fearful or skeptic, however, my nine-year-old has really been concerned about senior citizens and what is happening around the world,” he said.

From flashing signs along the road to people in stores wearing masks and gloves to moving lessons from the classroom to the living room most kids know that something isn’t quite normal. The Child Mind Institute is a national non-profit organization. Dr. Jamie Howard said it is okay to not know exactly what to say. But that it is important to say something.

“Not talking about the coronavirus can actually be worse because kids can worry more if they think that you are avoiding talking to them,” Howard said. “So use this as an opportunity to talk to them about the facts and have a conversation.”

The Centers for Disease Control also suggests parents remain calm and reassuring, make yourself available to listen and talk and avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.

You can also help your kids avoid getting overwhelmed by watching the news yourself and then telling them what they need to know.

Keeping a sense of routine is also important. The Walters family will be hosting a virtual birthday party Friday evening.

“Today is my son’s 6th birthday and he doesn’t understand why he can’t see his friends,” Chris Walters said. “So we are trying to do all we can to create normalcy for him.”

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