How to help kids understand coronavirus

MADISON, Wis. — The Safer At Home order is especially difficult for kids. Many are wondering why they aren’t allowed to go to school or play with friends.

Experts say it’s important to speak to your children about the pandemic. Dr. Kathleen Hipke, a psychologist with SSM Health, said it’s even more important to listen to your kids to find out what they’re struggling with or worried about.

“It is a time to talk with kids so that we give them some information to understand, because otherwise they’re going to be filling in the blanks themselves, and often times their own ideas are more frightening than the reality,” said Hipke.

She said this will be a different conversation for kids of various ages. She recommends focusing on the helpers, such as doctors and nurses who are fighting the virus. Make sure kids know they’re helping too by staying at home.

As for parents both trying to work from home and teach their children, Hipke recommends they give themselves a break.

“It’s going to be rocky and you have to let things go,” said Hipke. “It’s a great opportunity to model that for kids, to be able to name it and talk about it and say ‘My gosh, I was stressed this morning, that didn’t go very well. Let’s try again.’ Because that’s what we want kids to be able to learn to do for themselves too.”