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How to talk to your kids during the coronavirus pandemic

Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein has some advice that all parents need to hear.

TAMPA, Fla. — For many students, online learning started this week. With parents who might be working from home and technical glitches getting everything started, it was a little crazy for many. 

Dr. Jennifer Katzenstein is a child psychologist from Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. She has some great advice that all parents need to hear about talking to kids amid the coronavirus pandemic.

First, let your kids guide you through the conversation. 

Find out what they know and where they're getting their information.  Be sure to ask questions and let them ask questions so you get an idea where their head's at.

Second, figure out how much to share.

Parents know their kids better than anyone. Consider their age and then tell them what you think they can handle with the reassurance that everyone is doing what they think is best to keep everyone safe.

Third, let them help set up their own routine.

Katzenstein says we all need to feel like things are under control. 

"It certainly is the same for our children too. So it's important to allow them to have a sense of control, some clear expectations and some routine so that the unexpected doesn't seem as scary or anxiety-provoking," she said.

One last thing to do is acknowledge their feelings. Don't dismiss them. 

If you have a high school student, they are probably really upset and worried about missing some major school events. Acknowledging those feelings and remind them we're all in this together. 

It won't fix the issue, but it will give them a sense that you understand how they feel. 

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