With recent news and media coverage about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many children are being exposed to information that may make them feel scared and confused. General practitioner and mental health expert, Dr Jonathan Ho said parents and carers have an important role in helping children understand what is happening by providing age-appropriate
information and answering their questions.
“It’s a common thought that talking to your child or children about distressing topics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can upset them more,” Dr Ho said.
“However, this is actually not the case. If you let your children talk about their fears and try to answer their questions in an honest and calm way, you can help them understand what is happening which helps children cope better during stressful times. “Try to use language that your child will understand and stick with the facts. Let them know that this is only a temporary situation and things will get better with time. With most media about COVID-19 aimed at an adult audience, they will often use stronger, more alarming language and I would encourage parents and carers to be mindful of exposure to television, radio and social media. Limiting these sources of information can help protect children from hearing too much complex information which they are unable to process properly.
“The most important thing to remember is that you know your child best and you know how much information they will be able to understand and handle,” he said. If you’re concerned about your child’s wellbeing, you can call:
• your General Practitioner for advice
• Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au
• headspace on 1800 650 890 or visit headspace.org.au
• Parent Line NSW on 1300 1300 52 or visit www.parentline.org.au
• headspace Wagga Wagga – (02) 6923 3170 or Griffith – (02) 6962 3277
• MPHN Central Access and Navigation Service 1800 931 603
• Murrumbidgee AccessLine 1800 800 944
Media release: MLHD