Talking to kids about school staying closed

As much as you can, maintain a sense of the familiar and a routine for your child’s daily life. Courtesy Washington Dept. of Health
OLYMPIA - Gov. Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced this week that public and private K-12 schools will stay closed through the end of the 2019–2020 school year. Although schools are closed from providing traditional in-person instruction, education will continue. The school districts are working to maintain connections with students and families and provide learning materials and supports over the phone, though email, through printed learning materials, and by using online platforms.
This is a big disruption for our kids! It’s totally normal for kids to have multiple and mixed emotions right now. They may miss their friends. They may be sad to miss anticipated milestones, field trips, or projects. They may worry about how this time will affect their future education. They may revel in the release from the structure of the school day or they may struggle to adjust to this new routine. And different kids will need differing types of support to best take advantage of the learning opportunities offered by their school.
Here are some tips that may help you and your child navigate this stressful time:
• Help your kids find positive ways to express their feelings. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing or drawing, can help them. Maybe extra physical activity will help them manage their emotions.
• As much as you can, maintain a sense of the familiar and a routine for your child’s daily life.
• Encourage your kids to stay connected with their friends. Can they text or call their friends? Can they Skype with a younger friend or cousin and read them a book? Reading to a younger child is great learning for both the reader and child being read to.
• During times of stress, some children may need more attention and emotional connection from their parents. Be prepared to give lots of extra hugs, stories, and time.
• Talk to your kids about COVID-19 in an honest and age-appropriate way. Sometimes a little bit of information and a lot of imagination can make life scarier than it needs to be. Help your children understand that we are all staying home to protect ourselves and our communities. Listening to them and addressing their concerns may help ease their anxiety.
vDon’t know where to start? Try this comic created by NPR just for kids explaining novel coronavirus.
Practice compassion
Remember that our kids are watching us to understand their own reactions. Take this opportunity to teach them about empathy and compassion. Remind them of a time they felt sick. What was that like? What helped them feel better? What can they do to help someone who is sick?
More information
Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact our call center at 1–800–525–0127. Hours: 6 am-10 pm, seven days a week.


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