School closures and social distancing are presenting both challenges and opportunities to parents and children across the nation. Here are some resources to help navigate new situations.
March 16, 2020 — The Rev. Kathy Pittenger is the Children’s Initiatives Coordinator for The Michigan Conference. She writes, “Michigan is in a much different place than last week. With schools closed, churches closed, and most gathering places closed, families have a lot of time with one another.”
Kathy has developed a Toolbox that includes resources about talking with kids about COVID-19. While some of the tools are for local churches to develop with families, these tools may be helpful for parents.
She writes, “The news about the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as a coronavirus, and the response to it, has left communities and families wondering what to do next and how to prepare. First, take a deep breath. As faith leaders, we have an opportunity to be a calm, non-anxious presence in the midst of so much unknown. We can speak proactively about the COVID-19, while maintaining a calm spirit and creating or providing ways for people who want to ‘do’ something in meaningful and healthy ways.”
Kathy suggests these steps:
- Assess what your child knows
- Process your own anxiety first
- Don’t dismiss your child’s fears
- Talk at an age-appropriate level
- Emphasize good hygiene
- Frame school and church closures as a positive
- Read more in-depth about each bullet point in this article from NY Times Parenting.
The Toolbox provides additional articles that focus on talking with kids about COVID-19.
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus ( from PBS for younger children)
- Coronavirus Video from BrainPOP (great for elementary children)
- Helping Children with Scary News by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus (NPR)
CLICK HERE for the full toolbox. New resources will be added.