By Monica Grainger, MSW, RSW

This is an unusual time. Families are asked to stay at home and engage in social distancing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Families are becoming flooded with news from around the world about the deadly result of this virus. As we are becoming more anxious about COVID-19, the anxiety is mounting among our children.

I have highlighted some behaviours which may lessen our childrens’ anxiety regarding the coronavirus. People are fearful and discussions about death are rampant. Children easily sense fear in other people. They need to be comforted and reassured that they are safe at home. In the next few days and weeks to come, help your children reduce their anxiety by adhering to the following recommendations:


  • Please watch the news about coronavirus in private
  • Ensure your conversations about the virus remain between adults and in private
  • Be cognizant that children of all ages are extremely sensitive to their parents’ fears and worries
  • Use discretion: in my therapy sessions with children and teaching kindergarten classes, you would be surprised at what children overhear from their parents and then share
  • Prevent your children from following any social media regarding the spreading of COVID-19

Your children will have questions about the virus and it is important to answer them. Simple factual answers without additional information is the best way to approach your conversations. For example:

  • We are all staying at home to be careful not to spread germs. This is why it is so important to wash our hands
  • Canada has very few cases of COVID-19
  • The coronavirus is most dangerous with very old people (70 year old people and older)
  • Even those older people who catch the virus can survive with the help of ventilators


  • Talk to your parents about your worries and fears
  • Social distancing means not being in the same physical space with friends, but you can FaceTime
  • Play social and educational online games with friends
  • Send funny memes to your friends
  • Play outside with your siblings

I have included a beautiful passage by Kitty O’Meara which offers a hopeful, inspirational and heartwarming perspective:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.”

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.”

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and they created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

In spite of these difficult circumstances, enjoy the time you take to create fun family activities and pleasurable moments.