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How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

As we are still confronting a global pandemic crisis, it is nearly impossible to go about your day without someone mentioning COVID-19 or hearing it in the news or on social media. Evidently, your children can’t avoid hearing about it. In fact, you shouldn’t spare them from finding out about the situation. However, you should be careful to talk to them in a way you give them the essential information without worrying them too much.

Much has changed for this emotionally most vulnerable part of the population recently. With schools closed and all other different activities temporarily on a halt, they have too much spare time. As the Spanish proverb says: “The busy man is troubled with but one devil, the idle man by a thousand.” That is why kids’ time should be carefully planned. They should create a new daily routine and stick to it. They should be busy doing interesting and relaxing things.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when talking to your children about Coronavirus.

1. Use the Language They Are Able to Understand

You should speak to your children openly and help them to understand the situation. The better they understand it, the more easily they will cope with it. Use simple language kids are able to understand.

The way you will talk to your children about Coronavirus depends much on their age. For example, it isn’t a good idea to use scientific vocabulary for preschoolers. You won’t have to talk about Coronavirus to children who are too small to understand. Certainly, you will keep reminding them to practice good hygiene. Still, try to sound natural so that you don't cause any additional fears.

If you notice children’s anxiety, try to comfort them. You should explain that it is normal to be worried about a situation like this.

If you can’t answer their questions, try to find answers together. It is also an opportunity to help kids learn how to get reliable information.

2. Learn How Much Your Child Already Knows About Coronavirus

Before you begin talking about Coronavirus, you should find out how much your child already knows about it. He or she might already be well informed. If you estimate that they have enough information, don't overload them with unnecessary facts. Instead, just let them know that they can ask for more details whenever they want.

3. Don’t Make Your Conversation Too Formal

It is a good idea to wait for the right moment to start talking about Coronavirus. You can wait for a cue like a TV program or something they read on the Internet. The child should be ready to talk about it and feel free to talk.

4. Keep Your Own Anxiety Under Control

If you are not worried more than necessary, your children will also feel more relaxed. It is not just what you say that they listen to. Your body language tells them much about how you really feel. Coronavirus should not be your primary conversation topic. The more you talk about it, the more importance you will give to it. This can easily make your kids anxious.

5. Children Must Learn How to Take Care of Themselves

You should teach your children how to protect themselves and other people from spreading Coronavirus. Instruct them to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeve or their elbow, or to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Ask them to put on a facemask if necessary. Explain how important it is to stay away from people with symptoms. Teach them to ask other people to inform them if they have any symptoms.

If the kids don’t feel well, explain that they have to stay at home or hospital, because it is safer for them and their friends.

6. Your Kids Can Learn a lot with the current pandemic crisis

There are many things kids can learn in this situation. One of them is the responsibility to themselves and others. They should also learn not to panic but to behave responsibly. This is the time to develop empathy for others and to learn to be patient – their usual routine hasn't stopped forever. It is on standby.

They will be able to use these qualities even after the pandemic is over.

7. Explain to Them Where to Find Trustworthy Information

You should try to limit the time your children spend on the internet or watching television. You should explain that much information on the Internet is unreliable and false. They must know who can give them trustworthy information - medical doctors and other experts. They can also check facts on websites like World Health Organization, UNICEF, etc.

The current pandemic is teaching us many life lessons that we can all learn from. It is also important to point out to our kids how important it is to respect people who risk their health to help us live as normally as possible in these circumstances, like medical staff, scientists, shop assistants, services, volunteers, and many others.

Click to read the free book Coronavirus Book for children

BrainPop videos to help answer some questions your kids may have about COVID-19

Click to view a multilingual cartoon book about COVID-19

"My Hero is you" book helps kids cope with the pandemic. It is available in over 30 languages here

How did you explain the current COVID-19 crisis to your kids? Please share your thoughts, tips in the comment below to spread the traveler butterfly love! And for more posts like this, don't forget to subscribe

covid19 explained to kids