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Coronavirus Update: Tips For Helping Parents Deal With The Many Questions They Get From Their Kids

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Social distancing has been tough for all of us, especially for kids.

Kathryn Pine is doing the best she can to keep 5-year-old Sebastian busy, but she admits it has been hard.

"He's very worried about getting sick. What is the coronavirus? What would happen to him if he got it?" Pine told CBS2's Cindy Hsu recently.

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He hasn't seen any friends for weeks and only gets to visit with grandma over the computer, where he reads to her.

"I really worry honestly about what this does going forward in terms of his anxiety," Pine said.


A lot of parents are concerned as they try to navigate their kids' stress and their own, while facing some tough and disturbing questions.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Rachel Busman is with the Child Mind Institute.

"If they say, 'I heard a lot of children are dying, or 'I heard that x, y is going to happen.' You want to first say 'I'm so glad you're telling me this. Let me actually tell you what we know,'" Busman said.

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How much to share depends on your child's development. Busman said there are lots of resources to help answer these questions in age-appropriate ways.

NPR put out a great child-friendly explanation of the coronavirus, using drawings and simple language in explaining that most people recover.

"If a child is worrying about their own safety, you want to remind them we're social distancing; we're washing our hands. This is one of the reasons we're not having play dates right now," Busman said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Busman said to encourage children to communicate with friends online and try to keep them on a structured routine, which is tough, considering their ages. For parents, Busman said to reach out to your community and don't be ashamed to ask for help.

"A call to a pediatrician, a call to a teacher, really just putting out a little of a, 'Hey, I need some assistance,' is likely going to result in a bunch of resources," Busman said.

Many parents are concerned about long-term effects on their children, but Dr. Busman said kids are incredibly resilient and the key is to make sure they know you're there for them.

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