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Talking to Kids about COVID-19

11/18/2020 | COVID-19, Health & Wellness

Listening to the news and overhearing grown-ups may cause children anxiety or fear about the coronavirus. Being in school again has probably caused that anxiety level to increase as well as more news about the rising number of cases and the number of holiday plans that are being cancelled. Kids might be feeling anxious, afraid, alone, bored, uncertain, and overwhelmed. They may also be coping with feelings of grief over the experiences they have missed or be feeling homesick for the grandparents, babysitters, friends, and others they have still not been able to see like they did before. The excitement and traditional routines that usually come with the holidays are disrupted and there are many unknowns.

In order to help us help the children we care about, many trusted medical organizations and child development experts are providing accurate and continually updated information so that families can stay as informed and healthy as possible.

A good place to start for some simple tips about talking to kids about the virus itself is Coronavirus Do's & Don'ts for Parents Talking to Children from the PBS Learning Media series "Meet the Helpers." Another good support is the COVID-19 24/7 Parenting Portal. The portal draws on the expertise of several leading health organization from all over the world. It includes tips, activities and 12 one-page printable sheets covering topics like staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behavior, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. Because sharing this information is such a global effort the tip sheets are available in 75+ languages.

COVID-19 Parenting

In addition to these parenting guides, global health and child development experts, children's hospitals, authors, children's book publishers, and more have partnered to produce books, videos, activity guides, and coloring books designed especially for children that you can view or download free.

For more help talking to kids try: IndyPL Blog: Read Right Now: Books to Help Kids Master Hand Washing, Masks & Social Distancing

Free Online e-Books:

Some of these are e-books you can read or listen to together online and some of them are .pdfs you can either read together online, or print out to share like a traditional book. Even more are available at 25+ Free Online e-Books and Video Read Alouds for Kids about COVID-19
Coronavirus A Book for ChildrenCoronavirus A Book for Children AudiobookExploring the New Coronavirus a Comic for KidsExplorando el coronavirusA Kids' Guide to Coping with the PandemicWhat Is COVID-19?Hi This is CoronavirusA Kid's Guide to Coronavirus

Videos & Podcasts:

For children who are most comfortable listening or watching, these videos explain the basics of viruses, the coronavirus specifically, and the effort being made by medical helpers all over the world to develop good wellness advice, medicine, and a vaccine.

Printables, Coloring Books & Activity Guides:

Aliens Get the Sniffles Too! Books to Ease Childhood Fears about Being Sick

With TWO scratchy throats, FIVE ears that hurt, and THREE runny noses, Little Alien is feeling rough. His mom and dad and his loyal dog Mars Rover know what it takes to to turn his sick day frown upside down.

Stay Home + Rest + Read Books = Get Better! And always wash your hands!

Favorite characters are trusted childhood friends who can help you talk to children about topics that make them anxious or afraid. Listed below are titles that can be comfortable conversation starters to talk to young children about viruses, illness, and good habits for wellness.

Aliens Get the Sniffles Too! Ahhh-choo!

Duffield, Katy

Little Alien is sick it is out of this world bad-- with two scratchy throats, five hurting ears, and three runny noses! Mama and Daddy alien use an arsenal of lunar decongestants and meteor showers to make him feel a little better. Can the family's eight-legged dog's clever tricks finally coax a smile from Little Alien?

Heroes Wear Masks : Elmo's Super Adventure

Oh Elmo, what can't you do? If anyone can convince a kid to wear a mask, it'll be him. Also available as a physical book.

My Mommy Medicine

Danticat, Edwidge

When a child wakes up feeling sick, she is treated to a good dose of Mommy Medicine. Her remedy includes a yummy cup of hot chocolate; a cozy, bubble-filled bath time; and unlimited snuggles and cuddles. Mommy Medicine can heal all woes and make any day the BEST day!