How do you talk to your kids about the coronavirus? That is today's question on Tips on Teens.
Thanks for joining us. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist.
I'm the founder and clinical director of Teen Therapy Center, and also the executive director
of the nonprofit organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California.
Before we jump into today's question, I just wanna reach out to everyone who has been affected
by the coronavirus, whether you have become ill, or you have a family member who has become ill,
our heart goes out to you. We really hope that you are getting the medical attention you need,
and you are resting and feeling better soon. And to those of you who, unfortunately, may have
lost a loved one in this crisis, words can't express the condolences that we would want to share
with you, and we're truly sorry, and we hope that you're getting the support you need. Anyway,
with that being said, we're going to jump into
today's question. Every Wednesday at noon I answer your parenting questions. You can email
us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. Here is today's question about the coronavirus.
How do we talk to our kids about the coronavirus? Their school has halted classes. We can't go
to work and we might have to cancel our summer vacation plans. We're stuck in a house that feels
smaller by the day. Everyone in the store seems panicked and the constant media updates have
us all on edge. What can I do to calm my family's anxiety? Great question. Something that we're
all going through right now. I think every one of us watching right now or you know can relate
to this. We've been to the grocery stores and how panicked it is. We've got our kids at home. Some
of us can't go to work or we're trying to telecommute but the kids are in the house and the house
seems like it's just closing in, closing in. I get it. The good news is we're all gonna get through
this. We're all going through this together
just like in 2007 when the housing market crashed, and we all thought it was doomsday. When we
got through that, we will get through this. There may be some sacrifices, but we will be okay.
And one of the ways to help your family be okay is to make sure that you are taking care of yourself,
that you are staying calm. You are the emotional leader of your family, right? You know, your
kids will follow your emotional lead. If you're upset and you're panicked, they're gonna follow
that lead, and they're gonna act out, and they're gonna add to the panic. If we're staying calm
as parents and we're staying steady, we're steady at the helm, right? Then more likely that
when our kids are stressed, we'll be able to manage through and help them calm down Right, and
there's a few ways to do that Number one, you may want to limit the media exposure kids have now
depending on your kids age You may not be able to do that very well. If your kid's 16 and has a cell
phone It's really hard to limit that media
coverage But if your kid is 7, you know, you don't need to have the news on all the time they're
just saying the same thing over and over again. You can just check your phone real fast, see what
the update is. More important for your seven -year -old or nine -year -old to have fun and enjoy
this moment. Which goes into the second point is have fun. You're stuck in the house with your
kids, right? Maybe you're telecommuting, maybe you're working from home, maybe you want your
kids to do some homework and schoolwork, and that's great and that's fine. Just make sure that's
not all about work, chores, schoolwork, because that's going to cause a lot of friction in your
house because you're going to be trying to control and push that square peg to the round hole
and it's not going to work. You got to have some fun. Take this opportunity to reconnect with
your family. Play board games. Go on hikes. You know, bike ride. Do something. You can be out
the house and still maintain your social distancing
that CDC recommends. If you're riding your bike and you're within six feet of other people,
you're riding your bike inappropriately, right? So you can go on a bike ride. You can go on a hike.
Hikes generally are not that crowded, people coming by, just, you know, don't touch them, which
is generally how you hike. You don't really touch people as you hike anyway, so you should be
So have fun, because if you're expecting your kids to learn the way they were in school, it probably
is not gonna happen that way. They're not getting as much score as it is, probably. And if you're
not already a homeschool family, trying to adapt and do that quick 180 is gonna be a big challenge.
And homeschool families are already used to homeschooling, and they're kind of already, you
know, this isn't affecting them as much because they're homeschoolers. And some of you, I know,
are homeschoolers. So, have routine. Healthy routines. Yes, they should maybe get up at the
same time they usually do and get ready in the morning and have some chores and have some homework,
but also have some fun routine. Let's bake cookies together. Let's go on our hikes. Let's play
games. Let's do art projects. Take this opportunity to really connect with your kids. And again,
as I say often enough, our connection with our kids is more important than their grades because
that will last them their whole life.
No one cares what you got in eighth grade English. It doesn't matter. They will learn as they
grow. So take care of yourself. Make sure you are taking care of yourself so you can stay calm
and then you can help take care of your kids by limiting their exposure, offering fun routine,
and maintaining connection. That is our talk for today. Thank you so much. We're going to continue
our Tips on Teens as long as you guys keep sending your questions in. We love your questions.
If you have a question you'd like me to answer, email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com and we'll see you next week. Bye -bye.
Coronavirus is impacting the lives of families across the country. It’s hard to not feel stressed or nervous right now, especially with the 24/7 news coverage. This week’s #TipsOnTeens question is from a parent seeking advice on how to help their family get through this public health crisis:
“How do we talk to our kids about the Coronavirus? Their school has halted classes, we can’t go to work, and we might have to cancel our summer vacation plans. We’re stuck in a house that feels smaller by the day. Everyone in the stores seems panicked, and the constant media updates have us all on edge. What can I do to calm my family’s anxiety?”
Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.