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Helping parents answer children's questions about the coronavirus

Posted at 9:12 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 00:18:25-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The coronavirus has changed so many aspects of our daily lives, overnight. Many of us still have questions about what's going on including our children. So we reached out to a therapist who is helping parents navigate through our new reality.

“I’m scared that she’s not gonna come when my tooth comes out of my mouth and also I’m going to be so sad because there nobody allowed here right now,” said five-year-old Jack Henry. He and his little brother, one-year-old Patrick Henry, have been hunkering down at home since the coronavirus outbreak in South Florida.

Jack has a very valid question: will the tooth fairy come to his house during the coronavirus pandemic?

His mom Joanie who's a writer and a blogger says she's at a loss for words.

“Right now as a parent I’m struggling on so many levels to explain to them why simple things we took for granted like toilet paper and milk are currently not available in many of the stores,” said Joanie.

Joanie says she's also worried there may be other moms out there in the same boat. So we reached out to Emily Velez, a therapist at
Therapy Health Solutions in Jupiter for help.

“That's kids reality right now wondering if the tooth fairy is gonna come or Easter is coming up, is the Easter bunny gonna be able to visit our house...the child is looking for predictability and consistency with that question and trying to find comfort,” said Velez.

She said parents should keep it simple, acknowledge and describe their child's feelings and deserve to know the truth.

“How can I speak to them about this in a way that’s not going to terrify them and also how can I provide some comfort when there are so many unknowns?” asked Joanie.

Velez says not knowing is OK and your child should know that.

“There are sometimes where we’re not really sure what to say and I think it is OK to say that to your kid...if they’re asking you questions that you just don’t have true answers to say-I don’t know but I’ll give you more information as soon as I have it,” said Velez.

Velez also says the best things you can do as a parent is to stay calm yourself and model coping skills that work for you and your family like quiet time or going for a walk if you feel overwhelmed.