Protecting children in your care from 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.

If you have children in your care, you will likely be worrying about protecting them from COVID-19. Here are our tips on physically and emotionally protecting children through this crisis. 

Tips for physically protecting children from COVID-19

  • Educate children on cleaning hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice) or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly, like tables, doorknobs, remotes and light switches children may use 
  • Watch for any signs of illness, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath
  • Limit social interactions, and hold any social activities in an open area such as a park where kids can kick a ball around or throw a frisbee without being in close proximity to one another.

As an added benefit, the Xplor Childcare 2020 report identifies that: “the offering of value-add services – such as additional languages, sports or musical activities – all appear to contribute to driving occupancy in Long Day Care Services.”

National survey for The Early Years Insights 2020

Tips for emotionally protecting children from COVID-19

  • Act a supportive and responsive caregiver to minimise the emotional stress of the pandemic 
  • Keep children socially engaged, even when practising social distance. This could be through writing letters to their friends or having online video chats with their grandparents
  • Provide age-appropriate information to ensure children don’t have any frightening fantasies due to a lack of information on the issue. Try finding resources that explain COVID-19 in a child-friendly manner while limiting children’s exposure to sensationalist media coverage. 
  • Maintain routines that provide children with a sense of stability and predictability, such as regular mealtimes and a daily schedule for play and learning 
  • Keep children busy to get their mind off things. This could be encouraging outside play, creating art together or playing music.
  • Encourage self-efficacy in older children. This means helping them have a sense of agency and control in an otherwise unpredictable situation. For example, children could start helping with cooking and freezing food, or share extra supplies with a neighbour in need. 

Finally, remember to take care of yourself as a caregiver. Self-care activities like meditation, exercise and reading can help you be a better source of strength for the children in your life.

Please make sure that if you are a child care provider or service you have subscribed to receive communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.