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Ways parents can help explain to their kids why there are so many changes

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MILWAUKEE -- With school being canceled and social events postponed -- your kids may be asking a lot of questions. Rebecca Michelsen with Penfield Children's Center joins Real Milwaukee with how parents can talk to their kids about coronavirus.

Stay calm. Children listen to what you say and how you say it. They also overhear adults speaking about the virus to other adults. Be aware of what you`re saying to others when children are nearby.

Share age-appropriate facts. PBS suggests, 'You know what it`s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.'

Reassure your child that adults are working hard to keep children safe. Explain that doctors, nurses and public health officials are working tirelessly to put rules in place to reduce the spread of this virus.

Help your child feel in control. Oftentimes, fear comes from feeling you can`t control the situation. There are simple things we can do to stay safe such as washing hands frequently, coughing and sneezing into your arm, wiping down surfaces with disinfectant and staying away from large crowds and public spaces.

Let your child know he can come to you with questions and concerns. Allow him time to talk about it and reassure him you are always there for him.

Reduce screen time related to COVID-19. It's easy for children (and adults) to develop anxiety from reading, seeing and hearing too much about the virus.

Provide information that is simple and accurate and go on to the next thing. Take the time to have fun. Play games, craft, have a dance party, bake. Find positive distractions during this time of uncertainty.

If you or your child do get sick, it doesn`t necessarily mean you've caught COVID-19. There are many germs that make us sick. Just like in the past when a child gets sick, adults are here to take care of them.

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