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The coronavirus pandemic affects everyone, including children who may feel confused, afraid, angry, or any number of difficult emotions. How can we recognize their feelings and talk with them about the pandemic? Dr. Sanaz Kumar, a psychiatrist and assistant medical director of The Children’s Guild Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, specializes in child and family psychiatry. She offers guidance to parents and caretakers in her Baltimore Sun commentary, “Talking to children about COVID-19.”

“Talking with your children frankly and thoughtfully can go a long way in alleviating children’s fears and helping them to understand and grow in these challenging times,” Dr. Kumar says.

She suggests we start by asking children what they already know about the pandemic and let them guide the conversation. Use a calm and confident tone, she says, be honest and truthful and emphasize action as a way to address anxiety. Read more in Dr. Kumar’s commentary.

In addition to talking with children, Dr. Kumar discusses caring for children’s needs more broadly in our online resource, “Talking to Children about COVID-19 and Managing their Social and Emotional Needs.” She advocates for exercising self-compassion and gratitude while maintaining a routine, physical activity, social interaction, and family time.

Dr. Kumar and The Children’s Guild’s team of counselors and psychiatrists work closely with children and families in clinic- and school-based settings to address their emotional and behavioral needs. The Children’s Guild’s holistic, strengths-based, trauma-informed therapeutic approach actively involves parents, family members, caregivers, and school staff.