How to talk about COVID-19 with students

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Have your students been experiencing fear and anxieties in 2020? Bushfires dominated the summer holidays and affected the beginning of the school year. And then the COVID-19 pandemic meant schools transitioned to remote learning, bringing with it a whole new set of challenges for students, teachers and caregivers.

With all that younger students have faced this year, it’s not surprising that they might have questions and need extra reassurance from the adults in their lives. That’s why SBS is helping you navigate how to talk to your children about coronavirus.

Director of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University’s Department of Psychology, Professor Jennie Hudson explains that it’s important to stay calm while answering children’s questions; “Your child takes cues from you about how to react and they learn how to handle challenging situations by watching and listening to what you say.”

She advises allowing children to watch the news, “but stay connected to news that provides facts. Watching news that does not provide a calm rational perspective of the situation will likely further fuel their anxiety.”

But most importantly, Hudson reminds adults that you need to address children’s questions based on their level of understanding. “Talk at the level of understanding they have communicated to you.”

For more tips and tricks on how to have a conversation about the pandemic with your children or students, check out the full article at:

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. The federal government’s coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone’s app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at