Listening to the news, overhearing grown-ups, and talk at day care or school may cause children anxiety or fear about the coronavirus. The challenge for us as a parent, teacher or other trusted grown-up is to make sure we understand what we are trying to explain before talking to them. Several trusted medical organizations are providing accurate and continually updated information about the coronavirus so that citizens and their families can stay as informed and healthy as possible. You can find links to many of these sources below.
We have identified some materials from these trusted experts that are especially helpful when speaking to children. Favorite characters are trusted childhood friends who can often make ideas stick in little heads in a way that our words alone won’t.
The main messages about the coronavirus are consistent:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. (Sing the entire ABC song…it lasts about 20 seconds.)
3. Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or after being in public spaces. (Like the library! Also wash them after reading library books!)
Resources to Help Talk to Children:
Fact sheets and FAQs designed especially for use with children are available from kidshealth.org:
- The Story Seeds Podcast: Coronavirus PSA: How to Fight the New Bad Guy in Town by Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
- What Is the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
- ¿Qué es el coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Hand Washing: Why It’s So Important
- Lavarse las manos: por qué es importante
For older children there is A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus based on a radio story on NPR. Experts at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and the National Institute of Mental Health all contributed to the making of the comic.
US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC works to protect America from health, safety and security threats, including fighting diseases and supporting communities and citizens to do the same.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO works worldwide to promote health and safety by identifying and responding to health emergencies, especially in vulnerable communities.
World Health Organization – Coronavirus Scams
Although this page is part of the WHO’s coronavirus page listed above, we wanted to bring special notice to the section on scam awareness. Be aware of scams related to the coronavirus – phone calls or emails from people claiming to be officials who need your personal information to fight the coronavirus. If you are in doubt, call your local library or directly contact the agency the individual claims to represent (through a number you look up, NOT through a number given to you by that individual), or the Texas Attorney General’s office.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
If you want a quick snapshot of the current world-wide situation on the coronavirus, check out this interactive web-based dashboard from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University that compiles data from several sources (some of which occassionally conflict, so they state in their disclaimer not to use this tool for medical guidance). This GIS application provides a constantly evolving visual snapshot of what’s going on in the world with COVID-19.
Medline Plus (National Library of Medicine)
Medline Plus is an authoritative source from the National Library of Medicine. Their information is concise and written in easy to understand language. They have links to other vetted sources and sources in languages other than English pertaining to the health aspects of the coronavirus.
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
The Texas DSHS is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19).
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is an agency that focuses on scientific research into alternative medicine. This article discusses some alternative therapies being proposed to combat the coronavirus and their effectiveness.
Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine
If you’re panicking or anxious about the coronavirus, take a few minutes out of your day to listen to the calming and logical words of Dr. Sydney McElroy and her rascally but amiable husband Justin. They discuss the history of the coronavirus and encourage people not to panic. This podcast from the Maximum Fun network has been teaching people about medical history since 2013, and occasionally delves into current issues such as this one. Dr. McElroy is a practicing physician with a passion for history and vaccines.