Explaining COVID-19 to children
The world has literally come to a standstill...This is a confusing and challenging time for adults and children alike. How does one go about talking about the novel coronavirus with children without alarming and instilling fear in them?
Find out what they know and have heard about the disease. What do you know about coronavirus? What have you heard about COVID-19? How do you feel about what you have heard?
Asking the above questions will help you decide what age-appropriate facts and information you can share with them. This could range from: it is like having a terrible cold or flu to, a more detailed description of symptoms.
Reassure them by going over hand washing and cough etiquette with them as you explain ways in which to keep safe during the pandemic and avoiding the spread of germs. Pay attention to what they see and hear on television, the radio and online.
Another source of child-friendly information is this video by Dr Ranj from CBeebies, Get Well Soon.
Below are some facts to share with children about COVID-19 from the CDC:
What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.
- Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.
- Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.
What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?
- You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.
- Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- If you don’t have soap and water, have an adult help you use a special hand cleaner.
- Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
- If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.
What happens if you get sick with COVID-19?
- COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems. From what doctors have seen so far, most children don’t seem to get very sick. While a lot of adults get sick, most adults get better.
- If you do get sick, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. People can get sick from all kinds of germs. What’s important to remember is that if you do get sick, the adults at home and school will help get you any help that you need.
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