Advice for Talking to Children about COVID-19
2/26/2020

Iowa Dept of Public Health logo

Stressful situations often cause children to worry and have many questions about why it is happening and how it can be fixed. Your confidence and calm attitude will help your children ease their worries and feel safe and secure.

Helpful Tips Regarding Children and COVID-19

  • Keep activities as consistent and normal as possible even if your normal routine changes. Ask your children what they have heard about COVID-19. Answer questions openly and honestly, at a level they can understand. Be clear and do not avoid difficult questions.
  • Allow your children to express their feelings and concerns. Let them know it is okay to be afraid or mad. Ask questions so you can help them identify and cope with their feelings.
  • Children always need to feel safe and loved. When they are uncertain about situations and afraid they may need even more affection and attention.
  • Limit exposure to media and adult conversations about COVID-19. If your children are watching television, try to watch with them or make sure you are available to answer questions about what they have heard.
  • Encourage healthy behaviors: eating well, sleeping well, and playing outside.
  • Use their questions as an opportunity to let them know what they can do to avoid getting COVID-19.

Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children

  • School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
  • There are things people can do to stay healthy and avoid spreading disease, such as:
    • Washing our hands
    • Covering our mouths when we cough
    • Not sharing food or drinks
    • Staying home when we don’t feel well
    • Advise parents that it is normal to be concerned about a new virus.
    • Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with reports of illness and death.
    • Adults at home and school are taking care of your health and safety. If you have concerns, please talk to an adult you trust.
    • It is important that all students treat each other with respect and not gossip about who may or may not be ill.