Finding The Right Words: Make it fun

09 Jun 2020

Finding The Right Words

Tone is vital when discussing Coronavirus with a child, advises Dr Angharad Rudkin, clinical psychologist and
consultant on the parenting book 'What’s My Child Thinking?'

“Help your child put some distance between them and the threat by giving information about how Coronavirus is spread and what we can do to help minimise the risk such as using loads of lovely bubbles when washing our hands,” explained Dr Rudkin.

It’s essential to talk to a child about things he or she can control, such as disposing of tissues and personal hygiene, Dr Rudkin says, rather than those they cannot.

Once the explanation is over, the conversation should move on to something that isn’t threatening, such as what they’d like for lunch.

Jon Gilmartin, a speech and language therapist at the children’s communication charity, I Can, says it’s best to use
“simple language” for all age groups and allowing children to ask “lots of questions” to show they’re being listened to.(BBC Newsround offers advice: at



If children ask about older friends and relatives Dr Rudkin advises honesty over the argument. “We will all die eventually but chances are not until we are really, really old”.

The charity Young Minds blog says you’re the leading expert when it comes to your child. You can tell when they aren’t in the mood to talk, or when they aren’t responding to your attempts. Find out how much they already know and follow their lead. Drawing, stories and other activities may help to open up a discussion.

Young Minds Parents’ Helpline experts say that above all, it’s important to remember that as a parent, you do not need to know all the answers, but you can help to contain their fears and anxieties by being there for them.

Contact Information

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust