As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.
• Remain calm and reassuring. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
• Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
• Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma. Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
• Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online. Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
• Provide information that is honest and accurate. Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
• Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs. Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick. Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash. Get children into a hand-washing habit.
Protect yourself and others
You can take steps to protect yourself and others during a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
• Clean your hands often.
• Avoid close contact.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. Do NOT use a face mask meant for a health-care worker.
• Cover coughs and sneezes.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
For more details and to view this information in other languages online, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.