Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss coronavirus (COVID-19) in an open and honest way that they will understand.
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Conversations with children and young people

Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss coronavirus (COVID-19) in an open and honest way that they will understand.

Talk about the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel worried or concerned.

If the media or the news is getting too much for them, limit exposure for young children and encourage teenagers to limit their exposure or turn it off completely.

Further tips for caring for younger children:

  • Ask children what they have heard about coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The way parents behave can have a significant effect on children. Keep conversations calm and focused on the facts. Emphasise efforts that are being taken to contain coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Model health-promoting behaviours for your children. For example, teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Educate the entire family about good health habits. Talk about what each family member can do to help others outside of the immediate family.
  • Include children in family discussions and plans, in an age appropriate way.
  • Address any misconceptions children may have that could result in stigmatising people or groups of people in the community.

Resources

  • Smiling Mind
    Smiling Mind's digital care packs provide tools and resources for parents, carers and teachers to support positive mental health for the children in their care. https://www.smilingmind.com.au/kids-care-packs
  • PANDA
    Support for individuals and families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression. PANDA's National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline. Phone: 1300 726 306 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 7.30pm) or online at https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/supports-for-parents-anxious-about-coronavirus
  • Lifeline Australia Phone: 13 11 14
    A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
    lifeline.org.au
  • Beyond Blue
    A dedicated service for those feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or need assistance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Phone: 1800 512 348
    Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
  • Carers Victoria
    Represents and provides support for carers in Victoria.
    https://www.carersvictoria.org.au/
  • TANDEM carers
    Represents organisations and individuals who care for people living with mental illness.
    https://www.tandemcarers.org.au/
  • Disability Information Helpline
    Access to information and referrals for people who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19), including access to counselling 1800 643 787 (available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm)
  • Eating Disorders Victoria
    In response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Eating Disorders Victoria has implemented a new Wellbeing Program to assist people living with eating disorders and their support people during these challenging times. https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/find-support/eating-disorder-wellbeing-support-program/