Recently, my preschool granddaughter noticed my “I Voted” sticker proudly displayed on my jacket and she asked me, “What does vote mean?” My response was straightforward and provided an easy-to-understand example. It made me wonder how parents, grandparents and teachers respond to more challenging questions about more troubling topics that kids will inevitably hear about.

The topic on my mind is the global outbreak of the coronavirus and how to talk about it with kids. During my research, I found some excellent resources that are summarized below.

From the New York Times, which provides a free daily Coronavirus Briefing, an article on How to Talk with Kids About Coronavirus. My takeaway from this excellent article filled with expert advice is to check in with yourself to ensure that you understand the subject and can provide information without showing any panic. Make sure to acknowledge your child’s fears and to talk at an age-appropriate level. At any age, emphasize good hygiene.

Another excellent resource is from The Guardian, titled Stop a Worry Becoming Catastrophic: How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus. This article focuses on a parent’s role in helping kids “work it all out” to minimize their fears and provide reassurance. Establish yourself as a trusted source of information and let them know they can come to you with any questions about what they may hear from their friends, classmates and the media. Be mindful to remain positive.

Also from the New York Times is an informative article on Talking to Teens and Tweens about the Coronavirus. The focus here is to make sure your kids know how to stay healthy. Reinforce the basics of good hygiene and remind them of common-sense tips to prevent the spread of germs. Provide the facts as you know them and offer to do research together if you don’t know all the answers.

Help your children understand that this virus is disrupting nearly everyone’s routine – leading to remote learning and remote working to countless closures and cancelations, including museums, theatres, sporting events and popular entertainment venues. Assure your kids that you are prepared to meet these challenges—and that this is an opportunity for all of us to work together to be resilient.

For ongoing ideas and advice on how to manage during this global pandemic, The New York Times will continue to update this page, Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically.

If you find yourself preoccupied with the spread of the coronavirus and your worries continue to mount, contact your EAP to help you address your fears and strengthen your resilience.