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How to talk to your child about the coronavirus

The way you discuss the coronavirus with your child should depend on your own particular parenting style and their age.

While some parents prefer to shield their children from reality, in general, I believe it’s good to be honest and sensible with children so that they trust us. I also think that listening to the experts and sharing what they advise is vital.

Key points

  • The proper name for this coronavirus is Covid 19. “Coronavirus” is the umbrella name for many viruses we’ve seen over the years.
  • Share statistics with them. If they are smaller, use analogies to make the figures more understandable.
  • Tell them that we don’t get dramatic about it and that we follow Public Health England’s advice
  • Point out that, while the news keeps saying how many people have contracted the virus, they don’t say that most of those people are now recovering or don’t have it anymore, which is in the majority. 
  • So far as we know, the symptoms are pretty mild in children, if a child should catch it. According to epidemiologist Emily Landon, Medical Director for infection prevention and control at University of Chicago Medicine, “It seems to be that children just aren’t as affected, and they don’t seem to get as sick.”
  • Make sure they know about sneezing into elbows and, if they use a tissue, to throw it away.
  • Finally, make it clear that while they probably aren’t in the high-risk category, we have to do as much as we can to help people in higher risks categories, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions, from catching  it.

Empowering children with knowledge is not only important but also key to the whole situation

Empowering children with knowledge is not only important as a parent but also key to the whole situation. As a parent, we must try not to let our own anxieties show in front of our kids. Easier said than done and I don’t often meet that standard myself.

At Perform, we’re following government guidelines and have put in procedures to minimise any risk. We're asking children to ensure they wash their hands before entering the studio and also minimising any contact and hand holding activities. Our teachers also ensure that their own personal hand washing is rigorous and regular.

You may also find Mindheart's Covibook a useful resource for supporting your conversation.

You can click here to read advice on the coronavirus for places of education from Public Health England.

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