Talking with Kids About Coronavirus

Talking with Kids About Coronavirus

“I miss my classroom. It is not fair you get to go to work and I don’t get to leave the house! I HATE THE CORONA!”

That’s exactly what my 5 year old sobbed at me an hour ago while we were attempting to tackle kindergarten homework.

From her perspective, my life looks pretty much the same: I go to work and I come home.
She, along with an unimaginable number of students, has had her life turned upside down. No school, no parks, no friends, no classmates, no visits to the grandparents house. No sense of what was normal, everyday life just weeks ago.

It is a struggle for me to wrap my head around. How can I expect her to understand what’s going on?

She’s right. It isn’t fair. But it’s the for-now normal we have to operate by.

Have I done an adequate job of explaining what’s happening? Well, she knows what it is called and the basics of why we have to stay home all the time. But…how do you talk with little ones about it? It’s another facet of this wildly weird situation we’re all dealing with.

Thankfully, Sesame Street and Elmo (along with a handful of other favorite characters and a slew of celebrities) came in clutch with Elmo’s Virtual Playdate, offering reassurance to parents and kids who’re feeling the stress of quarantine.

And if your little ones (or you) need a little bit more fuzzy friend emotional support, Sesame Street has set up a hotline with characters offering helpful advice. (I called it. It is super cute.)

I’m beginning to realize that when my own words and understandings fail, it is grounding to go back to the basics. And it doesn’t get any more building-block basic than Elmo.