Talking To Your Children About COVID-19

As we prepare to return to school and other activities, it is important that you talk to your children about COVID-19. Here are some quick tips to help with that conversation.

  • Remain calm and reassuring.  Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues for the conversations you have with them and others.
  • Be available to talk and listen.  Make time to talk and make sure your children know they can come to you when they have questions.
  • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.  Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.  Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
  • Provide information that is honest and accurate.  Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. Talk to them about how some stories on the internet and social media may be based on rumors or inaccurate information.
  • Teach children every day actions to reduce the spread of germs. 
  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing, or are sick.
  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff (i.e., increased handwashing, cancellation of events, etc.)
  • Get children into a handwashing habit.
  • Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Make sure to supervise young children when they use sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol.


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