Helping children understand pandemic life changes

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KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Trying to come to terms with how life has changed because of the coronavirus crisis is difficult for any of us, but it can be even more difficult for children who are kept out of schools and away from their friends and, perhaps, even some family members.

Dr. Jeffery Kile of PAK Pediatrics says not talking about the situation with children who are experiencing so much change can make matters even more stressful.

“Kids see people walking around with masks all the time. They see things on TV and that can be stressful for them,” Kile told Eyewitness News.

That’s why, Kile says, it’s especially important to keep lines of communication open with your child.

“I think not talking about it or pushing it aside can actually make it more stressful,” Kile said.

But how do you answer children’s questions about something so complex and life altering? Dr. Kile says start by asking them questions.

“Ask them what do they know about COVID-19 or what questions do they have. Start them with an open dialogue,” Kile said. “Let them come to you with questions they have so that we understand what they are processing and then you could use this as an opportunity to sort of allay those fears or try to correct misconceptions.”

Also, make sure you have a good information grasp by turning to trusted sources.

“Such as like the or the American Academy of Pediatrics to get the information and then ask the children because they are going to ask questions and they’re going to ask smart questions and we have to be ready to answer them,” Kile said.

Another tip? Let children know there are some things within their control.

“Sort of like a semblance of empowerment,” Kile said. “So yes we are washing our hands, yes we’re staying inside because we’re trying to protect ourselves and be healthy.”

As parents and caregivers, we may be a bit anxious ourselves talking to children about the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Kile says take a few minutes to make sure you are calm before having the discussion.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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