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Pandemics Are Scary! How to Talk to Your Child About COVID-19

by Madison Carroll

There are lots of questions about COVID-19, among kids and adults alike. While how to address a child’s uncertainties will depend on their age, understanding and current family situation, our child life specialists provided a few kid-friendly answers to some of the most common questions.

What is COVID-19?

There is a new virus that is making people sick. The disease caused by the virus is called COVID-19, or you may have heard some people call it coronavirus. It can cause a fever and cough and make it hard to breathe. Most people only get a little bit sick, but other people, especially older people, may get sicker and need to go to the hospital to get extra care.

How can my family and I stay healthy?

Madison Carroll is a child life specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to stay healthy! Wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song two times.
  • Try not to touch your face. Touching your face can move germs from your hands to your nose or mouth, which can make you sick.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, so that germs don’t spread.
  • Stay at home!
  • Why do I need to stay home?

Staying at home helps keep you and other people safe. It helps keep germs from spreading to a lot of people. This is why schools, restaurants, and other places are closed for now. By staying home, you do your part to protect yourself and other people.

Why are people wearing masks? Do I need one?

Masks are for people who are not feeling well. Masks help keep germs from spreading to other people. If you are feeling well, you do not need to wear a mask.

If I get sick, what are things I can do to feel better?

  • Rest is best!
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy foods to strengthen your body
  • Ask your doctor if medicine can help.

Can I visit with my family and friends?

We can still interact with our friends and loved ones, it just might look a little different right now. We can be creative, like having video chats! Everyone is missing their friends, but we will be able to play together again once this sickness goes away.

When can I go back to school?

We will go back to school as soon as it is safe!

How can I help?

There are lots of adults, like doctors, nurses and scientists, who are working very hard to keep everyone safe. It’s not your job to worry – It’s your job to keep being a kid.

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