by Blake Tyson, CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) — As coronavirus worries increase, so does anxiety.
CBS 2 spoke with Northwestern Medicine’s Chief of Psychology Dr. Stewart Shankman about how to discuss the virus with your family.
“I think it’s an important balance of being truthful with them regarding the risks out there, but at the same time trying not to alarm them,” Shankman said. “For example, letting them know that there’s a virus that is affecting many people in the world and that there are certain precautions we’re taking regarding washing your hands, schools being closed, trying to keep distance from other people, but at the same time not trying to create a panic or an alarm where it’s going to become impairing for them.”
Shankman also reiterates the importance of managing your own anxiety when dealing with the coronavirus.
“Kids are extremely perceptive regarding adults’ anxiety,” Shankman said. “I think adults can do these precautions of keeping the distance, washing their hands, but it’s how they express their affect, so there’s one thing of going to wash your hands and having a panicked look on your face or being very distressed while doing it, a better approach would be making this ‘this is what we’re doing’. A very matter of fact thing similar to other aspects of hygiene of wiping off your mouth after you eat and making it part of an everyday routine thing as opposed to something that the kids should be afraid of.”
Experts say limiting children’s exposure to media and social media coverage of the outbreak is also best.