Conversations with children and young people
Families and caregivers of children and young people should discuss COVID-19 in an open and honest way that they will understand.
Talk about the facts without causing alarm, and in a way that is appropriate for their age and temperament. It is important to listen to any questions they may have, to let them know that they are safe and that it’s normal to feel worried or concerned.
If the media or the news is getting too much for them, limit exposure for young children and encourage teenagers to limit their exposure or turn it off completely.
Further tips for caring for younger children:
- Ask children what they have heard about COVID-19.
- The way parents behave can have a significant effect on children. Keep conversations calm and focused on the facts. Emphasise efforts that are being taken to contain COVID-19.
- Model health-promoting behaviours for your children. For example, teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Educate the entire family about good health habits. Talk about what each family member can do to help others outside of the immediate family.
- Include children in family discussions and plans, in an age-appropriate way.
- Address any misconceptions children may have that could result in stigmatising people or groups of people in the community.
- Beyond Blue Phone:
A dedicated service for those feeling anxious, stressed, depressed or need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
- Carers Victoria
Represents and provides support for carers in Victoria.
- Disability Information Helpline Phone:
Access to information and referrals for people who need help because of COVID-19, including access to counselling (available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm).
- Eating Disorders Victoria
In response to COVID-19, Eating Disorders Victoria has implemented a new Wellbeing Program to assist people living with eating disorders and their support people during these challenging times.
- HeadtoHelp Phone:
Telephone advice from trained professionals and, if needed, connection to the best support or service for the caller (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm). HeadtoHelp also provides online resources for callers and healthcare professionals.
- Lifeline Australia Phone:
A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
- PANDA Phone:
Support for individuals and families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression. PANDA's National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline (Monday to Friday, 9am to 7.30pm) or online.
- Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind's digital care packs provide tools and resources for parents, carers and teachers to support positive mental health for the children in their care.
- TANDEM carers
Represents organisations and individuals who care for people living with mental illness.
Reviewed 23 July 2021