It is important to talk to children and youth to avoid fear and to build security now that their days differ from what they are used to.
- Talk to the children as to why our daily life is different. Explain to them that this is to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
- Ask them what information they have heard or read and if there is anything in particular that they are worried about.
- Give them intelligible and correct information. Make sure you do not exaggerate or trivialise. The disease is serious, but we are well prepared in Norway.
- Do not unduly stress your children – coughing and sneezing is normal, and the majority of people who are infected by the coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms.
- Discuss whether there really is a continuous need for checking up on the news, and preferably make an agreement with the child on the frequency. Sit alongside the child and talk about what you see, hear and read.
- It is important to listed to the child. Be present in the conversation and let the child speak out.
- Remember that younger children in particular will "fill out the blanks" by using their own imagination when they encounter something they do not fully understand.
- Be concrete, clear and concise. Repeat by using different words.
- Explain how infection occurs (airborne transmission via droplets by close encounter) – and how to avoid transmission (good hand hygiene, coughing into the crook of your elbow, etc.)
- Be clear on how a sense of feeling afraid, sad or angry is totally normal now that their days are so different, and they cannot do the things they are used to.
- Tell them that thousands of doctors and nurses and others now ensure that those who turn sick will receive the treatment they need.
- Prepare the children for the adjustments that will continue in the weeks to come, e.g. that parents might need to work from home, that there will be fewer visits by friends and family and that travels, birthdays etc. will be postponed or differ from what they are used to.
- Explain to them that this will now be the situation for a period, that it will return to normal, but that we do not yet know when.
Children and youth will often turn to the internet for information. Check on their internet habits and ask if they have read anything online about the coronavirus today.
Youth and teenagers often talk mostly to their peers and can easily pick up on incorrect information. Make it easy for them to turn to you. Don't forget that teenagers also can be worried and in need of an adult to talk to.
At ung.no you will find updated and useful information for young people between the age of 13 and 20. You can find answers to your concerns and you can post questions at ung.no/oss.
Do you need someone to talk to or chat with? You can find information on available helplines and chat services here (in Norwegian).
This film is made for children and youth. Subtitles are available in several languages by clicking the little wheel at the bottom.
- Click on the cogwheel symbol at the bottom when you open the film
- Remove "Autoplay" if this shows up in red
- Choose "Settings"
- Click "Subtitles"
- Choose "Automatic translation"
- Choose language
Subtitles in the language of your choice will appear (sound is in Norwegian only). We cannot guarantee that the auto-translation is completely correct. The film is also interpreted in sign language.