SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As kids are home from school and many parents home from work, questions about the coronavirus pandemic are surely coming up around the dinner table.

Western Mass News is getting answers from the CEO of Gandara Center, Lois Nesci on how to best talk to your children about COVID-19.

"I think the first thing for parents to understand is that its important to be honest with their children but not to scare them," Nesci said.

With the coronavirus pandemic, kids are now home from school for extended periods. This scenario could bring up a lot of questions within households.

Nesci told Western Mass News these are difficult times for parents and children, particularly when families can change their day to day routines.

She said it's important for parents to monitor what their kids watch on television and see on social media.

"Adults have to guide their children to pick and choose what kind of types of things they are listening to. I think we are inundated with information from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed," Nesci explained.

Another helpful tip is to keep your kids interact in fun activities, such as Facetiming family or friends.

"Whether it's a family night, a movie, games conversation...increase opportunities for kids to have social time with their friends," Nesci said.

Nesci said while children are now learning from home, and parents working from home, it is important to create some predictability and structure for both during the day.

"They have to work, they out to make sure they take breaks and during those breaks might be opportunities to interact with their children and play with their children," Nesci explained.

It is also important, for parents to have a calm dialogue with their children.

"Children pick up on their parents' moods and feeling and we know that children tend to imitate their parents," Nesci noted.

Nesci said the Gandara Center Services remain open during the coronavirus outbreak and staff is available to answer any questions.

"Were able to offer some telehealth so parents and children don't have to come in person. So if folks still need health that we're here and to give us a call," Nesci explained.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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