No matter how much you try to shield your children from the news, they can sense something has shifted. People seem more anxious; there are new social rules:

 

 

don’t hug others or hold their hands, don’t touch your face, don’t touch that book or toy, wash your hands often, stay home.  This shift in adult behavior and general sense of unease will inevitably be absorbed by your children, regardless of whether or not they understand what the coronavirus is and how it is affecting the world. Remember, children feel the emotions you and your family members portray. Much more than what you say, how you act, think and feel around them, has the greatest impact. In uncertain times it’s inevitable parents will feel overwhelmed with worry or fear, and that’s okay. However, as much as possible try to find a sense of calm, when you know your children are paying attention.

 

 

While I generally recommend refraining from sharing stressful news stories with your children, this only applies if everyone else around them is also not talking about the news. With an unprecedented event, like the coronavirus pandemic, which has had global impact and has changed the daily lives of everyone around them, it’s unreasonable to expect your young child will not hear anything about it or feel the stress. They may have heard you discuss it quietly with your spouse or friends, or sensed there is something wrong going on around them. That alone is enough to cause anxiety in your child, which can be amplified if they are left to make sense of what they have seen or heard on their own, without your guidance and reassurance. If you suspect that this is the case with your child, the best thing to do is to talk about it, and through conversation, encourage them to share their feelings, questions and worries with you, so you can help alleviate their fears.