Helping Your Family Through Covid-19
Talking to your children about Covid-19:
Kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark. Talk to your children about what is happening in a clear and simple way that they can understand. This can be challenging for parents and kiddos on the spectrum, but be assured: you DO know your children and you CAN help them cope with this pandemic.
Here are some simple tips to follow:
- Present the facts in a simple way, that is developmentally appropriate for your child
- Use your child’s preferred communication such as stories, videos, pictures, play, or conversation
- Brainstorm with your child about how to make the best of the situation. Children feel more secure when they feel in control and have a plan.
- Take cues from your child. Ask and invite them to tell you what they have heard or are feeling about the virus. Give many opportunities to ask questions.
- Reassure your child and focus on what you’re doing to stay safe.
- Keep it positive and use the extra time with your child to connect
You might be worried that:
- Your child obsessively discusses the topic. This is a normal way for children to process stressful events. Whenever possible, refer to the above tips on discussion and help them act out their thoughts.
- Your child does not want to follow necessary hygiene routines or has not learned the skills. Use social stories and videos to help your child understand the situation. They may enjoy mimicking the hand washing video while they practice their hygiene, checking off the steps once they’ve completed the task. Use token boards, verbal praise, stickers, and “Hygiene Honors” (prizes) for taking care of themselves and your family!
- Your child cannot communicate how they are feeling or discuss the situation. Creating a safe space with routine and consistent actions will help children at any developmental stage regulate and stay calm. Even if your child cannot express their needs, create a schedule that allows them to have control and expectations about what will happen next.
Online teaching resources about Covid-19:
Here are some helpful videos and stories to help your child understand the current situation.
Tips for your day:
- Create a visual schedule for your child and keep to it as best you can. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Communicate and be consistent. Notify them when changes need to happen. Sample Visual Schedule
- Offer choices and give them often! Whether it’s with the day’s routine, or special treats, allow them to make decisions.
- Give extra time for transition. Especially with a break in routine, allow for more support, time, and communication with transition to new things throughout the day. Set timers, give reminders, and offer to help with the change.
- Education may sound scary. Here’s some ideas for your child with special needs: TACA
Get those kiddos moving:
Basic Tips for You:
You matter too! Really. Here are some helpful resources to ease the stress of this time. Remember, your health and well-being are just as important and can affect how your kiddos handle this situation too.
- Limit the your news consumption
- Stay in touch with others virtually
- Get outside!
- Make plans for yourself
- Ask for help!
Helpful Resources for Adults: