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Coronavirus

Honesty, availability key in talking with children about COVID-19

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

With coronavirus continuing to spread across the globe it can be difficult to escape conversations about it.

Depending on the child, the virus can also feel very intimidating, so experts say it’s important to be available to listen to and talk with your child.

“There has to be communication across the board so talking with everyone in the family, making sure that everybody's needs and concerns are heard,” University of Missouri Health Care psychiatrist Dr. Laine Young-Walker said.

She said talking with children about the COVID-19 pandemic will be different depending on their age, but regardless the key to effectively having those conversations is being honest.

“Being able to kind of talk at a level that’s understandable for them is important,” Young-Walker said, “and talking about the knowns and the unknowns, but no matter what mom and dad, or mom or dad, is going to take care of you. We're going to keep you safe.”

Young-Walker said it’s also important to make sure the information you’re giving to your child comes is reliable.

“These are the things that we know, and hopefully you’re taking that information from a reputable source, like the CDC and their guidelines, and these are the things that we don’t know,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying calm and reassuring when talking with children about the virus and paying attention to what they see and hear in the media. The CDC says too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety in children.

The CDC has resources available about how to talk with children about COVID-19 including facts about the virus on its website, cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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Brittany Wiley

Brittany Wiley joined ABC 17 News in December 2018 as a full-time reporter. She anchors weekend morning broadcasts and reports in the early evening during the week.

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