Keep Explanations Age-Appropriate
- Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people take every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as “adults are working hard to keep you safe.”
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 comes to their school or community. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and 4 community leaders to prevent germs from spreading.
- Upper middle school and high school students are able to discuss the issue in a more in-depth (adult-like) fashion and can be referred directly to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19. Having such knowledge can help them feel a sense of control.
Kveller has published helpful advice and personal essays about coronavirus, including life under quarantine, building community during this stressful time, and a profile of the teen who started the best coronavirus website.
“Responding to Children’s Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis” from HealthyChildren.org
“Teach Your Children, When You are at Home: A Call to Jewish Education to Prepare for COVID-19” from eJewishPhilanthropy