RESOURCES FOR ADULTS
Talking Points and Resources
Talking about COVID with young children can be difficult. We want to stress healthy behaviors and staying safe without causing unnecessary fear or confusion.
We've gathered a few talking points and resources for you to use to guide the conversation. If you would like to recommend additional resources, please email us!
WHAT ARE GERMS AND VIRUSES?
Have you ever felt yucky? You may have had a cold where you were coughing, sneezing and your head hurt. You may have had the flu where you were sick to your stomach, had a fever, and felt really tired.
Sicknesses are caused by germs (some of which are known as viruses).
Viruses are really, really, tiny. They’re so small that doctors and scientists need special tools called microscopes to see them. Germs can spread through the air when you cough and sneeze or live on things you touch like doorknobs and playground slides.
Viruses and germs like to get into our bodies through our eyes, noses, and mouths. When they get in our bodies, they can make us sick. Sometimes we get better on our own with medicine and rest. There are other times when we have to go see a doctor to get healthy. Most germs and viruses have been around for a while, so doctors know exactly what to look for and how to treat them.
When parents and teachers tell us to cover our mouths when we cough or wash our hands, it’s to help us stop viruses and germs from getting us and our loved ones sick.
WHY IS COVID (CORONAVIRUS) DIFFERENT?
There are a couple of reasons why COVID is different from the same kind of sicknesses you or your family members may have had before.
- It’s a new virus so doctors and scientists don't have all the answers on how to treat it.
- The germs can spread very quickly in the air or on things we touch.
- Sometimes it takes two days – or even two weeks – from when the germs enter your body until you start getting sick.
- The virus affects different people in different ways. Some people just feel like they have a cold, but others may get really sick and have to go to the hospital.
- You can have the virus and never feel sick but still spread it to other people (like your teacher, friends, parents, or grandparents).
Since the virus spreads really easily and can make some people really sick, doctors have been encouraging people to be extra careful when going to places outside their homes.
WHAT CAN I DO TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID?
In order to keep our friends, teachers, and family members safe, we all have to work together to slow down the spread of COVID.
The good news is that kids like you will play a BIG role in keeping people healthy!
Doctors and scientists (who are really smart!) tell us that there are three really important things we can all do to slow the spread of Coronavirus:
- WEAR A MASK that covers your mouth and nose. Remember that germs love to enter and exit our bodies through our noses and mouths. Wearing a mask – even if it feels funny – protects you and those around you from those yucky germs.
- WASH YOUR HANDS for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Soap is really good at killing germs and viruses. To make sure you’re washing long enough, sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- STAND SIX FEET APART when you’re around other people. This gives you extra space so the germs and viruses can’t jump from one person to you as easily. Six feet is about the length of your bed, a cow, or a jump rope laid out in a straight line.
WHY DOES EVERYTHING FEEL DIFFERENT?
Have you been feeling a little different over the last few months?
Maybe you’re feeling scared of sleeping alone in your room, angry while playing a game, sad because you miss being with your favorite people or going to your favorite places. Maybe you’re feeling a mix of all of these emotions (and more).
That’s okay - and normal!
Many adults are feeling worried, nervous, and scared, too.
There has been a lot of change happening really fast. Big changes can be tough for everyone, and it makes us feel a lot of emotions.
If you’re feeling scared, worried, sad, or angry – don’t keep it all inside. Talk to your teacher, a family member, or a trusted grown-up and let them know how you’re feeling.
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! Grown-ups will do their best to answer them.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET COVID? AM I GOING TO GET VERY SICK OR DIE?
As far as we know, kids are very unlikely to get very sick or go to the hospital if they get the virus.
Some kids, maybe someone you know, have been shown to have the virus. This is called “testing positive for COVID-19 or Coronavirus," which means doctors found traces of the virus in their bodies.
Most children who get the coronavirus usually feel like you have a cold or flu. You may be a bit more tired, have a cough, and an achy body, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have to be careful!
Remember, the virus is tricky and acts differently in some people. You may have it and only have a cough, but it could jump from your cough to your grandparents and make them very very sick.
That’s why wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying six feet apart is so important!
WHEN WILL COVID BE OVER? WHEN WILL THINGS GO BACK TO NORMAL?
We don’t know when it will be over. The more the virus spreads from person to person, the longer it will take to end the spread.
A lot of kids (and adults) want everything to be back to normal.
Masks can be uncomfortable. Our favorite places have new rules. We miss hugging and high-fiving people we haven’t seen in a while.
But working together is important to defeating the virus! Have you heard the fable about the Four Oxen and the Lion? It’s an excellent story about how working together kept a group of oxen safe from the hungry lion. If you haven't heard the fable, you can watch a video about it!
Wearing a mask, washing our hands, and standing six feet apart is like the oxen’s horns protecting us from the virus (or the hungry lion).
When we all work together, we stay safe from the virus and slow the spread down until it ends.
INFORMATION FROM THE EXPERTS
U.S. & INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Resources
Monitoring the Coronavirus Outbreak in Metro Areas Across the U.S. (New York Times)
MENTAL & EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (For Adults & Parents) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014
How to Talk to Your Anxious Child or Teen About Coronavirus Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2020
COVID-19: Coping with Stress Centers for Disease Control July 2020
Talking to Children and Teens with Anxiety About Coronavirus Atrium Health, May 2020
Managing Family Stress During COVID-19 Connecticut Children's April 2020
Top 12 Tips to Reduce COVID-19 Stress, Medical University of South Carolina March 2020
Arkansas Children's Hospital - 24/7 Pediatric COVID Hotline: 501-271-3965
Ready for School Resource Call Center - Info Regarding the Reopening of Schools
DISCUSSING COVID WITH CHILDREN
Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014
Talking to Children About Coronavirus (COVID19) American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2020
Talking with Children About Coronavirus Disease 2019 Centers for Disease Control, May 2020
How to Talk to Kids and Teens About Coronavirus Psychology Today, March 2020
How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus PBS Parents, March 2020