How do I talk to my child about coronavirus?

During this uncertain time, it is important for children to feel comfortable and safe. We cover some ways to safeguard your children from anxieties around this pandemic. Here are some tips on how to talk to children about the COVID-19 virus.

Use appropriate language

Young children cannot understand the complexities of the virus and the additional challenges we face because of it. However, children are highly receptive to their parents’ feelings, moods, and language.

Terms like ‘germs’ and ‘bugs’ work well for illustrating these otherwise complex terms.

They also respond well to pictures of the virus under a microscope. This helps them to understand that the virus exists even though it cannot be seen by the eye.

Use examples to explain how germs transfer.

Use precise and exact language.

Prevention with good hygiene

Emphasise the best way to not let those germs get into their bodies.

Explain why it is important to sanitise or wash your hands often, especially before and after eating and after using the bathroom. 

Remind them not to touch their face, keep a safe distance between friends, and sneeze into their elbow.

Make it fun! Sing a song when teaching children how to wash their hands thoroughly and properly.

Reassure children

Avoid appearing overwhelmed or anxious about the virus as children are highly sensitive to parental anxieties.

Let children know that it is alright to be upset and invite them to talk about their emotions. Then discuss what steps you are taking as a family to help in ‘stopping the spread of the germs.’

Talk about prevention and reassure children that they are safe, healthy, and loved.

Talk to your family and friends to see how they are discussing it with their children.

There are multiple resources available to find out more information about the virus. Have a chat with your child’s Educator and ask how their classroom is learning about ‘fighting the germ’. It is a great way to keep a clear and consistent message through to children to avoid confusion.