Five Best Ways to Talk with Children About #COVID19

Five Best Ways to Talk with Children About #COVID19

By Dr. Colleen Colaner

As the COVID-19 virus begins spreading in the U.S., children might see or hear news about the pandemic and the loss of life.

Here, Colleen Colaner, an associate professor of communication at the University of Missouri, gives five tips for how to talk with children about COVID-19, including acknowledging children’s feelings and how to talk with children about death.

Dr. Colaner’s research examines how communication shapes and sustains relationships in complex, diverse, and modern family structures and experiences.


Check out Dr. Colleen Colaner’s article here.


Author Bio

Dr. Colleen Colaner’s research examines how communication shapes and sustains relationships in complex, diverse, and modern family structures and experiences. A major focus of her research is communication in adoptive families, examining how adoptive parents’ communication with and about birth families sustains adoptee wellbeing.

Colleen also researches links between family communication and diverse social identities, such as religion and political identification. In this work, Colleen focuses on children’s communication experiences and abilities, with an aim to understand children’s unique perceptions of their family relationships.

Colleen takes an applied approach to scholarship by translating family communication research to families in the community. Colleen serves as a family communication educator, partnering with mental health professionals in Columbia to provide families with strategies for connecting and coping. Her research is solution-focused to provide families with communication processes to support relational health and personal wellbeing.

Colleen’s work has been published in Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Sex Roles, Journal of Family Communication, and Adoption Quarterly in addition to regional and specialty journalsShe has also presented her work and received top paper awards at a number of regional and national conferences.

Colleen’s work has been supported with grants from the Organization for Research on Women and Communication as well as the University of Missouri (Research Board, Research Council, Arts and Science Alumni Organization Faculty Incentive Grant, and the Richard Wallace Alumni Fund). She was also the recipient of a University of Missouri College of Arts and Science fellowship in 2015.

Colleen is on the editorial board of Journal of Family Communication, Western Journal of Communication, and Southern Communication Journal. Colleen is active in the family and interpersonal divisions of the National Communication Association.







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Cynthia Tait

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