Media and social media news on Coronavirus can be stressful experiences for everyone, especially for children and adolescents. The closure of schools, the suspension of sports activities, the search for masks and disinfectants, can affect the balance of a family. Clearly, not everyone reacts in the same way. However, the current situation, and often conflicting information, can create confusion, which can also lead to feelings of fear and discomfort. How to manage their anxieties? What message to give to children and adolescents? How to answer their questions? How to talk about these events, at home and in classrooms?
- Before introducing the topic of Coronavirus to children and adolescents or sharing news in regards, make sure you are sufficiently informed about through reliable sources;
- Supervise, as far as possible, the exposure of children to news about it, in order to avoid overexposure and excessive control of the situation;
- Try to find the time to be together with your children and offer them a space for dialogue;
- Listen to all their questions, even if they are repetitive, insistent and contradictory, and answer them truthfully. Do not give too many details as they could be a cause for concern;
- Accept their fears, even if they may seem excessive. Even if you are unable to provide a specific answer, the important thing is to be present and maintain the stability;
- Use words appropriate to their age by choosing comprehensible terms to explain what is happening;
- Pay attention to possible manifestations of fear and anxiety, which can be expressed in different ways, for example, psychosomatic reactions or changes in behaviour;
- Reassure them that the routine will not totally change. Try to keep at least some of your daily routine at home (e.g. dinner times, watching a movie together);
- It is very important to follow regional and national indications in order to allow effective prevention actions. At the same time, it is good to allow moments, in which your children (and you too) can keep in touch with their social network, also thanks to the support of the digital channels;
- Follow the behaviour indicated by the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and promote the sharing of these good habits within the family;
- If you need support in communicating with children and adolescents on this sensitive issue, contact Telefono Azzurro on 1.96.96 Listening and Counseling Centre, active 24/24 or visit www.azzurro.it.
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