What to Tell Your Kids About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Valuable advice from Nemours Children’s Health System.
Help Kids Understand What it Is
COVID-19 is a new disease that is caused by a coronavirus. Coronaviruses cause a number of different illnesses, from colds to more serious respiratory tract infections.
Because this is a new illness, we’re still learning about it. But we do know that COVID-19 causes a fever, cough, and trouble breathing. We also know that it spreads very easily when people who have it cough or sneeze, sending tiny droplets into the air. That’s why it’s important to do things to stop it from spreading, like washing our hands a lot and staying away from other people if we feel sick.
For most people, the illness is not serious. People might feel a bit like they have the flu and can recover at home with rest and fluids. Some people do get very sick, though. These people can get help and expert advice from their doctors.
Learn more coronavirus basics here.
Give Kids Facts, and Listen to Their Fears
It’s natural to feel anxious when hearing the news about COVID-19. Be aware of how you are talking about the virus and manage your own reactions. You want your kids to hear reliable information, and you want them to hear it from you.
You can find a good source of facts here.
Help Kids Learn How to Avoid Getting and Spreading COVID-19
Teach kids how they can protect themselves and the people around them. Set a good example by doing these things too:
- Try not to be around people who are sick. Since we don’t always know when someone is sick, that may mean avoiding group events.
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time you wash. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Not all hand sanitizer has 60% alcohol, so check labels.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice “social distancing,” which means staying at least 6 feet away from other people.
- Sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow, then wash your hands.
Learn more here.
What to Do If Your Child Might Be Sick
If your child has a fever, cough, or trouble breathing or was around someone with COVID-19, keep your child away from other people. Call your pediatrician.
If your pediatrician is not available, have a telehealth visit to screen your child. Nemours CareConnect is available 24/7. You will use your phone, tablet, or computer to have a video visit with a Nemours pediatrician. If your child needs follow up, the doctor will tell you where to go for testing.
In an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately. Examples of emergencies are if your child is having severe breathing problems, is turning blue, or is confused or very sleepy.
Learn more here.
Tell Kids What You’re Doing to Prepare
Here are supplies you will need to get ready in case your family needs to stay home:
- Water and food. Have a two-week supply in the house. Include foods that are shelf-stable. Remember baby foods and pet food if needed.
- Household supplies. Don’t forget hand soap, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, and laundry soap.
- Make sure prescriptions are filled.
- A thermometer. Be sure to have an age-appropriate thermometer for younger children.
Learn more here.
Teach Your Child to Be a Super Hero
You can help your child understand that people around the world are working together to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Your child can do their part by washing their hands well, sneezing and coughing into their elbow, and letting you know if they feel sick.
Nemours supports the Philadelphia Family Community.