During a time where the structure of daily life has unraveled and the entire globe has had to make adjustments to keep every safe and slow the spread of COVID-19, children are especially vulnerable. With most regular scheduled education put on hold; children are being advised to stay home. For children who are seeking the help of a behavioral health provider, this change in routine can be jarring and difficult to adjust to. Even children living in stable home environments can experience an increase in anxiety and fear during times like these.
As their therapists, knowing how to talk to children about the coronavirus and what tools they can use to cope with the sudden changes in their life is extremely valuable. Tools like telehealth are helping providers stay connected and talk to children, helping them explain key details and minimize fear and anxiety. Below are some tools and suggestions on how therapists can talk to children about COVID-19 and how telehealth can help.
Tools to Talk to Children About COVID-19
1. Keep it Simple
Kids love learning and often come prepared with a long list of questions that they are eager to hear answers for. The issue with this is, that an overwhelming or detailed response to those questions can be difficult for a child to absorb and fully comprehend. This can lead to a child feeling bewildered or anxious by the equally long list of things they are unable to understand about COVID-19. When therapists talk to children about COVID-19, they should do their best to keep it simple and straightforward whenever possible. This might include leaving out dark details about the virus during a telehealth visit such as statistics or the fact that there is no solution for it at the moment. Instead, find ways to answer their questions without fueling their fears and anxieties.
2. Talk about What is Certain
When a child is looking for answers about something that harbors quite a bit of uncertainty, the best response is to talk about the details that are certain. For example, when therapists talk to children about COVID-19, they should talk about the positive facts. This might include details about how the child can stay safe and clear of the virus, the fact that doctors are doing their best work to help everyone, or how they can be helpful to their parents and to others during this time.
Therapists who talk to children and give them the tools to feel useful and confident during COVID-19 can help them feel more prepared and less fearful about the things they do not know, like when they will get to see their friends or when they will get to go back to school.
Using Telehealth to Stay Connected to Children During COVID-19
Many therapists are turning to telehealth to help stay connected to their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth is a great way to talk to children about COVID-19. The use of telehealth makes it possible for therapists to still hold sessions with children while still practicing social distancing and keeping everyone safe. During a time where a child might be overwhelmed by the lack of consistency in their life, using telehealth to keep communication open and available can help minimize their lack of structure. Telehealth is a simple-to-implement solution that ensures you are available to talk to children about COVID-19, answer their questions to the best of your ability, and uphold structure in their day-to-day life. Many telehealth vendors are offering telehealth solutions to therapists quickly and easily to make sure they have a way to communicate and talk to children in need.
Staying connected to your clients is essential during this time, especially if you work with children. By utilizing telehealth, you can talk to children in a way that will help them better understand their situation and avoid added fear and anxiety. To learn more about a telehealth solution that can help you talk to children about COVID-19, click here.