Since Novel Coronavirus is new and a lot remains unknown it’s causing a lot of fear for adults worldwide. That fear may be weighing down on children who don’t really understand what’s happening and are seeing panic from the adults around them.
This is a learning opportunity that your child will remember and reflect on for the rest of their lives. It may shape your child’s resilience and how they react to stress and uncertainty.
At the end of this post, you’ll find links to visual tools you can use to educate your child about coronavirus.
How to Help Kids Understand Coronavirus Without Creating Fear
What can your kids learn from you right now?
- How to stay calm during unknown or stressful situations
- How to prepare for the unexpected
- Ways to stay rational and stick to the facts
Hopefully, these are all things you’re modeling for your kids right now.
When you’re anxious your child can sense it. Children rely on their parents/caregivers to make them feel safe and secure so it can be really frightening for them if you’re anxious.
Talking to Children About Coronavirus
It’s important to talk to your children about coronavirus. Children need predictability and being in a situation where they don’t know when they’ll return to school, or what’s going on will worsen the situation.
- Give them the facts – Chances are your child has heard about the virus, either from school or through the media, or even overhearing you talking about it. It’s your job to research the facts and deliver accurate and developmentally appropriate information to your child so they’re not relying on what they’ve heard from other sources.
- Reassure them – Make sure your child knows that for most people, especially children, if they do get the virus, the symptoms are mild and they would most likely stay home and rest and feel better soon.
- Explain New Guidelines – There are new rules to follow that didn’t exist before now! This is a confusing time. Use social stories to help children understand the new guidelines and why we have them. You can get a free printable story about social distancing here.
- Keep a routine – If your child is going to be home from school for an extended period, establish and implement a new routine immediately. Routines give children the consistency and predictability they need. Use charts or visuals to reinforce the new routine.
We created a new at-home routine for the children to follow that covers typical school hours, so they’d know what to expect at home.
Here is what ours looks like:
Keep Kids Updated
Because COVID-19 is a new virus, the information we have is rapidly changing. Stay in the loop by following updates from accurate sources, such as the World Health Organization.
Keep your child up to date on information by relaying anything new about the virus to them in a way that’s developmentally appropriate and that they’re able to understand.
Reinforce Good Hygiene
The best way to prevent any illness is through good hygiene practices.
Chances are, your child does not remember to wash their hands when they leave the washroom every time or before they eat. Or, if they do, they probably aren’t washing them as well as they should.
Use these handwashing visuals to teach children the importance of handwashing and to remind them when to wash their hands.
Other hygiene practices
You should also keep children’s nails short, and remind them not to touch their face, share food or drinks, or put items in their mouths.
Coronavirus Info Sheet for Kids
I’ve created a free printables coronavirus info sheet for kids.
This printable is designed to inform children about the basic facts we know about coronavirus while reassuring them that they are safe.
The info sheet also explains why schools are currently closed and tips for preventing the spread of the virus.