If your child has concerns and anxiety about COVID-19, here are 10 concrete things you can do as a parent:

1. Parents must take their own authority and monitor all forms of media. It is helpful to watch media with your child, so that you can explain disturbing information.

2. It is important to give your child clear, fact-based, and honest information that is age-appropriate.

3. Practice safety procedures and teach your child to go to a responsible adult in case of a contamination emergency. Remember Aristotle who said, “Action reinstates a sense of control.” Practicing safety measures will give your child something constructive to do with his feelings and therefore, will lower their anxiety.

4. Focus your attention on your child. If he needs extra support, put on a night light, give him a cuddle, and read him a book. Create child-centered activities, such as reading, to share time together.

5. Encourage your child to write letters, draw pictures or send small gifts to COVID-19 patients in hospitals around the country. This will help him learn about empathy and lower the decibels of his own fears.

6. Use my empathic process, to create a safe and supportive space in which your child can express his feelings openly. By listening and talking, you can hear your child’s concerns, diffuse rumors and share your own feelings in a descriptive way, so that your child is given direction to help him get his arms around his own emotions.

7. Trust is based on experience. Therefore, teach your child that he can trust you by being reliable, empathic, and nurturing.

8. Never discount your child’s feeling or opinions. Validate and value your child’s concerns by actively listening and responding to his questions.

9. Give your child extra support by rehearsing and practicing health and safety measures with him. For example, the personal hygiene of washing hands and not touching anything that may have been infected by body fluids.

10. Know your child and be aware of changes in his mental or physical health: notice any loss of sleep, change in appetite, change in weight, inability to focus or study, personality changes such as anger, aggression or insecurity, so that you can deal with these problems immediately, as they occur, with extra support and empathy.

Open dialogue is important during these times of confusion and anxiety for children. In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing some helpful parenting tips, on How To Talk To Your Child About COVID-19.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.