Talking with Children About COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020, 13:38 PM by UTMB Pediatrics


Children are observant and notice the cues of those around them.  Even if
we think they are not aware of the situation, chances are that they have heard something when we did not think they were listening or they have noticed changes within your home.  Children have most likely heard about COVID-19 discussed at school, at home, on television or through social media. 

  • It is important to talk to children about what is going on around the world and within your family system.  Here are some tips to navigate the conversation:   Consider their developmental level and temperament.Ask them what they have heard about the Coronavirus to gage their level of understanding.This will help you know where to start and give you a chance to clarify misconceptions.Some children may require more explanation and reassurance.It is normal for children to continue to play, as this is how they process changes and cope.Open the communication for them to ask questions as well.
  • Maintain as normal a routine as possible and let them know what to expect.  Let them know we are learning new things about the virus daily and will have new information to share as you learn new things.Let them know that less people will be going out in public and why.It is not easy to stick to a routine when schools are closed.Try to establish a new routine, as best you can.We know that some children struggle with big changes in their environment so, give them time to adjust.Making a visual schedule or a calendar will help children envision how things will go. Be as reassuring as possible.

  • Empower them to have some control.Teach them proper handwashing techniques and practice with a song or do an activity to show how germs spread.Teach them about not touching their face, and good coughing and sneezing habits.Find ways to make this fun and engaging. Let them know the steps you are taking within your home and how they can help, too.

  • Limit TV and social media. Limit television viewing or access to information on the Internet and through social media. Try to avoid watching or listening to information that might be upsetting when your children are present.Engage in more family time and activities without screens.

Lizette C. Perez, M.S., CCLS
Pediatrics Child Life Coordinator
UTMB Health Children's Hospital

Also see:

COVID-19 UTMB Update (3-24-2020)

For the ongoing safety of our patients and employees, we are no longer allowing walk-in patients in any of our clinics or urgent care sites. All patients should call the Access Center at (800) 917-8906 so the nurse triage line can determine if an urgent care televisit is appropriate or if you need to be seen in person. If an in person visit is needed, you will be directed to the best location for needed care—regardless of symptoms or condition. We will conduct prompt televisits whenever medically appropriate. We have sites available to provide face-to-face care when necessary.

If you want to check the status of your current Pediatric appointment, you may contact (888) 886-2543.

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