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Talking to children about COVID-19

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) released a guide to help parents and teachers talk to children about COVID-19.

"Our students, children and youth are watching the COVID-19 pandemic unfold and are listening in as adults or endless 24/7 news and social media streams discuss the crisis and its many complications," the guide from the ATA's Dr. Phil McRae and Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health's Dr. Michael Rich stated.

According to the March 27 release, McRae and Rich discuss techniques to approach topics surrounding COVID-19, such as social distancing, truths and fantasies, personal safety, and what the future may hold.

"Many parents and teachers are wondering what they should say to their children and what they can do during these extraordinary times," McRae, ATA associate co-ordinator of Research said in a statement. "We don’t want to scare kids, but we must be truthful and find ways to talk to them honestly and hopefully about COVID-19."


The online article and video guide are broken down into three parts, according to the ATA release. “What should I say?” addresses how adults can approach and explain the terms kids may be hearing. “What should I do?” covers how to cope with the unusual circumstances we are now in. “How will we get through this?” discusses techniques to normalize the isolated home environment for kids.

ATA president Jason Schilling pointed out students no longer have the stable routine of the school day in their lives as the cancellation of all classes has prematurely removed that crucial structure.

"Students have had their world turned upside down,' he said in the release. "I can’t imagine how they’re dealing with the huge amount of information – and misinformation – bombarding them every time they turn on the TV or open a smart device. Dr. McRae and Dr. Rich help put the COVID-19 pandemic into an easily digestible perspective for kids, parents and teachers."

View the Talking to Kids About Coronavirus (COVID-19) document.

Follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national COVID-19 news, resources, FAQs and more.

airdrieTODAY Staff

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