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Keeping Children Informed During Uncertian Times



Shalayne Smith Needham: In stressful times, it's important to reach out to friends, family, and especially children who need guidance during these hard times. Callie Ward is an Extension assistant professor at Utah State University and specializes in family finance, family resource management, emergency preparedness and food preservation. Callie Ward joins us by phone from Garfield County. Thanks for being here. 

Callie Ward: Yeah, thank you for having me. 

SSN: And with everything going on recently, COVID-19, the earthquakes, why is it important to maintain transparency with children during stressful times?

CW: So kids worry more when they're kept in the dark. Not talking about something with your kids may cause some anxiety and additional unneeded stress. So as a parent, it is our goal to keep our children informed and give them facts based information so that we can avoid the stress and anxiety that they might be feeling at this time.

SSN: So How can parents be more approachable with their children so their kids know they can ask questions about anything they're stressed about?

CW: So one thing I always recommend is remember what you're doing right now to stay safe. Talk to your children about what they can do and what they have control of, especially washing their hands for 20 seconds, and going over your family's emergency plan. 

Also, stay within your routine. Make sure that your children are getting their regular mealtimes and bedtime. You can always have your door open for your children to talk about what they are going through and what they're thinking. Always encourage them to share concerns and ask additional questions.

SSN: And can you give us a few general tips on how to help manage stress and children and maybe some resources that are available?

CW: Yes, absolutely. You can help your children feel a sense of control and manage their feelings by encouraging them to act directly related to the disaster. So an example is tosee the good is what's going on, see what they can do to help their community.

SSN: Callie Ward USU, Extension assistant professor in family finance joining us from Garfield County. Thanks so much for your time. 

CW: You're welcome. Thank you. 


Shalayne Smith Needham has worked at Utah Public Radio since 2000 as producer of Access Utah. She graduated from Utah State University in 1997 with a BA in Sociology, emphasis on Criminology. A Logan native, she grew up with an appreciation for the great outdoors and spends her free time photographing the Western landscape and its wildlife.