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Kids and the New Coronavirus: Talking Points and Resources

Published on Mar. 14, 2020

coronavirus resources for kidsYour kids have probably heard of COVID-19 by now. Or at the very least they’ve heard the term ‘coronavirus.’ And chances are, they have questions.

So what’s the best approach for talking to children about the virus? What’s the best way to keep your kids engaged during a school closure or a long self-quarantine? These resources may help you talk to your kids about the new coronavirus and keep them engaged in the days and weeks ahead.

Be honest, but age-appropriate

Make yourself available to answer questions about the virus. Be calm and reassuring. Make sure you share information that’s both accurate and appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level.

Coronavirus: What you need to know >>

Remember, it’s best to use simple language kids can understand. You might explain that COVID-19 is like a very strong cold or a stomach bug making people sick. It spreads to others when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Together, we’re doing everything we can to stay safe and keep our friends and family healthy. That includes not going to school and not attending some events for a while.

Guidance from the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prepared some general principles for parents, school staff, and others who frequently interact with children.

More Tips for Engaging Kids

Here are a few more resources offering ideas for explaining the new coronavirus to children:

WHO Myth Busters

If your kids frequent the Internet, help them separate fact from fiction. Make sure they understand not every story they see online is accurate. The World Health Organization has created a dedicated coronavirus Myth busters page to keep the public informed.

Kid-Friendly New Coronavirus Infographic: The Story of COVID-19

Here’s an illustrated infographic about the virus created for kids based on a story by NPR Education Reporter Corey Turner

You can even print the artwork here and fold it into a mini comic book.

Teach and Practice Good Hygiene

You know the drill by now: wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds with soap. Hint: try singing the chorus of your child’s favorite song as you wash your hands together.

But sometimes, especially with younger children, it takes a little more to drive the message home. Here are a few ideas for teaching your child the proper handwashing techniques. 

Handwashing: What You Need to Know

The CDC answers important questions about hand washing and using hand sanitizer in this video.

Wash Your Hands Song by the Singing Walrus

A fun way to remind younger kids how important hand hygiene is, especially to protect from viruses.

Show Your Kids the “Cough Pocket”

Coughing or sneezing into your elbow can be hard for kids to remember. But calling the elbow a cough pocket might help the behavior stick.

Prepare Routines and Activities

School closures and quarantines may call for long days at home. It’s important to maintain a structure and keep to routines when you can. Here are a few ideas for keeping kids occupied:

Virtual Museum Tours

Did you know more than 500 museums and art galleries around the world have partnered with Google Arts and Culture to offer virtual tours? Check these out:

Ready Wrigley Prepares for Flu Season (Coloring Book)

The CDC’s flu preparedness campaign includes a fun coloring book featuring Wrigley the dog. It’s not specifically about COVID-19, but still a great activity for young children. Download a printable copy.

ABC Scrub with Me

PBS Kids created a game to help children visualize germs while practicing their alphabet skills.

How is Munson Healthcare Prepared?

Munson Healthcare continues to work closely with local health departments and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to follow World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control guidelines to confront the disease. One measure currently in place are visitor restrictions to keep patients and the community safe.

Visitor Restrictions >>

Find COVID-19 updates in northern Michigan from Munson Healthcare >>