With COVID-19 all over the news and social media, students and children are sure to have their own thoughts and questions. In order to ensure the information they are believing is accurate, it is best to proactively talk to students and children about COVID-19 and how it affects them. We have put together some helpful tips and resources that will equip you to have an effective conversation.
First, Ask Them What They Know.
Before starting to list facts, ask your students or kids what they have heard and believe about COVID-19. Make sure your questions are guided and age-appropriate. For those in higher grades, some questions you can ask are: “What have you been hearing and reading about COVID-19 or the coronavirus?” or “Have other students or your friends been sharing information about COVID-19 or the coronavirus with you?” For younger students and children, ask questions like “Have you been hearing about people getting sick?” Once your students or children begin to lead the conversation, let them express their feelings and ask questions.
Second, Be Truthful About the Facts.
Make sure you have all the facts from reputable sources to share with students and children. Some sources include the CDC and World Health Organization. Be age-sensitive with what you share, but do not feel the need to downplay the severity of the pandemic. When discussing facts, try and stay positive with actions that students and children can control, rather than focusing on those they cannot. One way to do this is to share the ways in which they can help prevent themselves or others from getting sick, such as washing their hands consistently and thoroughly or to stay home if they’re feeling well. Use fun videos and books for the younger ones.
Third, Create the Time and Space for Their Feelings.
Once you initiate a conversation about COVID-19, dedicate time to allow students or children to download how they are feeling and all the emotions that they may have kept inside. Be mindful that it may take time for them to fully process their concerns and be vulnerable, so do not rush anything. If you notice any hesitations or difficulty getting them to talk, try asking them to write down their feelings. These can be words, journal entries, or even pictures.
These are just some of the ways to begin talking to your students or children about COVID-19, and we want to encourage you to continue the dialogue and let them know you are always open to listen. Do you have any tips on how these conversations can take place? Let us know in the comments!