Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest

Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest
FILE - In this March 7, 2020 file photo, a swing sits empty on a playground outside Achievement First charter school in Providence, R.I. The public charter school, like a nearby Catholic school, closed after a teacher who attended the same Italy trip awaited test results for the new coronavirus. Many parents are now deciding how to talk to their children about the virus. Some said they are checking in daily, while others worry talking about it could make their kids more anxious or fearful. (Source: AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(AP/Gray News) - As more schools announce closures and cancel events, parents are having to decide how to talk to their children about the coronavirus.

Some parents say they’re checking in daily, while others said they’re limiting conversation out of concern it may make their children anxious.

Child psychology experts’ advice is to be reassuring, focus on proactive steps and do research to truthfully answer their questions.

One expert stresses that parents should not collude in their child’s anxiety by refusing to go outside or by buying face masks. “And I don’t need a sniffle to turn into them worrying about dying.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s general principles for talking to children also include advising parents to make themselves available to listen and talk, avoiding language that might blame others and lead to stigma and paying attention to what children see or hear on television, radio or online.

The CDC also recommends to teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs like staying away from others who are sick, reminding them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, and getting into a handwashing habit.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Digital Media contributed to this report.