How to talk to children about COVID-19

A loving and blissful family lying on their lounge floor together

Everyone is talking about COVID-19, including children. Even if your kids haven’t asked about what’s going on, it’s highly likely they’ve heard people talking about the virus.

When children hear or see media coverage, they can become overwhelmed or anxious. They also might have a lot of questions about why schools are closing and events are being canceled.

It’s important to talk with your kids to reassure them. Children often model what they see from the adults around them. When adults are calm and explain things confidently, they can provide the best support for children.

When explaining COVID-19, describe the symptoms in a way your children can easily understand.

You could say symptoms are similar to the flu. Remind children that most people who have gotten sick have had a mild case of coronavirus.

It’s also important to mention there aren’t a lot of cases in kids. If kids get COVID-19, it’s usually very mild.
When explaining that older people or those with health problems are more likely to get sick with the virus, reassure children that you, their grandparents and other loved ones are taking proper precautions to stay healthy.

You can also explain that doctors and nurses are ready to help people who do get sick.

Make sure your children know that if they have other questions or are worried, you and other adults are here to help them.

Here are some tips to give your children:

1. Wash your hands often.
2. Sneeze into your elbows.
3. Avoid touching your face.
4. Ask questions if you’re worried or confused.