Talking to kids about coronavirus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Children can struggle with mental health issues while taking in all the news about coronavirus. Kids have questions about what is happening. Disruptions to their lives can be unsettling.

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Action 2 News reporter Kristyn Allen spoke with a therapist from Prevea Health for advice for parents and guardians.

The therapist recommends keeping a routine for the family. Ask children for their input on activities.

"Our children and us, we are all creatures of habit. We like that routine and thrive on consistency," says Lisa Tutskey, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. "So for kids, we want to make sure they have some routine. It's going to look different and it's not going to be all of the things they used to do but there's some pattern to the day."

When talking to children who are pre-school age and younger, give them the basic information about the virus.

"We don't want to share germs. We don't want to spread them. Right now we have to do a little bit more than what we normally do. We want to reinforce that we already do things like washing hands, not touching things they shouldn't be touching, using hand sanitizer," says Tutskey.

Tutskey says it's OK to be scared, but reassure kids that you'll keep them informed. Don't feel pressure to know all the answers to all of their questions.

Feeling overwhelmed by the coronavirus news? VISIT for advice on how to cope.

To talk to someone directly, call 800-985-5990 for a trained crisis counselor. You can also text TalkWithUs to 66747.