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Experts encourage parents to talk to their children about the pandemic

Virus Outbreak-Summer School
Posted at 7:01 AM, Jun 01, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The recently updated CDC guidelines have been confusing for many people, but even more so for kids.

“Pay attention to changes in behaviors for kids. Pay attention to hesitancy when they’re leaving home,” said Natasha A. Pierre, Executive Director of NAMI Hillsborough.

Doctors say the best thing parents can do is talk to their kids to help them understand where we are right now with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not something that you know we watched TV and like okay you get it? No. This is a family conversation. This is order pizza, let’s talk about it. How do you feel about this mask thing? What do you understand about us removing our masks? What do you understand about the vaccine? Do you have any concerns about the vaccines?” said Pierre.

Experts say parents may be having a hard time getting their younger kids to continue wearing a mask now because they don’t understand why so many people aren’t wearing them anymore due to the new guidelines.

This is something doctors are concerned about since kids under 12 are not eligible to get vaccinated yet.

They suggest parents continue wearing a mask so they can model that behavior for their kids.

They also recommend communicating with children in a way that makes sense for their age level.

“I have a 4-year-old, with him I’m saying there are germs, we continue to wear our masks to keep each other safe. At some point, we might not have to wear masks anymore but for now, we’re wearing masks,” said Jennifer Katzenstein, PhD, Pediatric Neuropsychologist and Co-Director of The Center of Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

For kids who are school age or older, doctors say parents should try getting into more detail by talking to them about the specific things going on to them so they understand. Like the following example.

“You know that this has been going on, the pandemic continues to evolve we’ve got treatments going in terms of vaccines. We’re getting better at managing some things but we’re getting new guidelines every day from the officials that we trust,” said Katzenstein.