ROCKFORD (WREX) - With students home from school during the coronavirus pandemic, that gives the parents the chance to have discussions about it with their kids. Doctors are offering tips on how to handle those hard, but important conversations.
"Kids are pretty in tune to the fact that something different is going on," says SwedishAmerican's Dr. Eric Trautmann, a family doctor.
With students' routines upended, there could be negative behavioral changes if proper precautions aren't taken, according to Dr. Sherry Falsetti of the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
"They may feel anxious, they may be more irritable, they may have more trouble sleeping," Dr. Falsetti says.
She says explaining the pandemic in simple, reassuring terms, is the best course of action for parents.
"We're trying to keep everyone safe, and our family safe, and our community safe. It tends to send a more positive message.
After you have some of these conversations, experts say your kids shouldn't just be on the couch on their devices. They encourage helping them plan healthy meals, add reading hours to their schedule, and incorporate family game nights to keep your children mentally active and engaged.
"It gives families more time together, to spend together, do things together and reconnect as a family," Dr. Falsetti says.
In these uncertain times, doctors want you to keep conversations open and collaborative.
"These are really important times for development for younger kids. Asking them if they have questions and answering them as best one can in a way they can understand. For little kids, it's a teachable moment," says Dr. Trautmann.
As parents become teachers at home, the medical community says they can offer their kids peace of mind. For the CDC's guidance on talking to your children during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.