How to talk to children about coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: Childcare Centre Support

IMPORTANT: Service Closure
You will be notified by the state or territory regulatory authority if your service should be closed. If you voluntarily chose to or are advised to close your service by authorities, you must notify your state or territory regulatory authority within 24 hours.

The spread of COVID-19 throughout the world has caused mass anxiety among people from all walks of life. Among all this concern and confusion, children may be left feeling even more worried. So how can you speak to children in your care about coronavirus, and help to alleviate some of their anxieties? 

  • Address your own anxiety 

    Firstly, it’s important to approach the children in your care from a place of calm. Children are good at picking up on cues from adults, so the last thing you would want to do is make them feel more anxious. So, take a moment to collect yourself prior to any discussions.

  • Invite children to ask you anything

    By inviting children to ask you any questions they may have about the coronavirus, you will be able to ensure that you do not give more information than is necessary. Be prepared to answer their existing questions, not prompt new ones that may encourage troublesome thoughts.

  • Focus on safety precautions

    Children are likely to worry that they may catch coronavirus themselves, so it’s important to reiterate the safety precautions you are taking. Empower them by informing them of proper sneezing and coughing etiquette, and the importance of washing their hands for at least 20 seconds, several times a day. Make it easier for them to remember how long to wash their hands for by telling them to sing Happy Birthday twice.

  • Reinforce routine

    At a time of uncertainty, routines become more important than ever. Stick to the normal routine of your facility as much as possible in order to provide stability to the kids.
  • Encourage healthy eating

    You can encourage healthy eating among children while educating them on the importance of boosting their immune system.

According to the Xplor Childcare 2020 report “A child’s immune system is largely dependent on the foods they eat” during the first two years of their life. Once “given the right nutritional start, they are more resilient to illnesses”.

National survey for The Early Years Insights 2020

The most important thing during the coronavirus classes is to protect, educate and empower the children in your care. Follow the steps above to make sure any of their worries are addressed, and to ensure that they know how best to look out for themselves and each other’s health.