Parents: What to do, how to talk to your children about COVID-19
The risk that COVID-19 poses to children is very low. “In the largest study of COVID-19 patients, only 2 percent of all identified infections were in children and the vast majority of these were asymptomatic or very mild,” says Dr. Sean McTigue, Medical Director for Pediatric Infection Prevention & Control. “To date, there have been NO deaths reported worldwide in children.”
That being said, COVID-19 is the main topic of discussion throughout the U.S. – your children probably have questions about what it is and are wondering if they should be scared. Here are some appropriate ways to discuss COVID-19 as a family:
How do I help them deal with stress or worry?
- Be reassuring and supportive. Children respond to stress differently, so they may seem more clingy, anxious, angry or agitated.
- Give them extra time and attention. Speak kindly and make more opportunities for play and relaxation.
- Listen to their concerns. Don’t be dismissive or ignore their fears.
- Respond with age-appropriate information.
What do I do about potential disruptions?
- Make a plan. Stay up to date with trusted sources of health information.
- Stay current on travel restrictions.
- Keep regular routines with bedtimes, meals and exercise.
- Stay in contact with your child’s school or daycare.
If my child has a chronic condition, what should I do?
- Practice proper handwashing. Explain how and when to wash hands.
- Sanitize surfaces and toys regularly. Use bleach-based products for surfaces that can handle it. Use a household cleaner or wipe to clean surfaces and objects that are used frequently.
- Consult with your child’s specialist. If you have to wait, be patient and remember that others are likely calling, too.
- Avoid other people who are sick.
What do I do if my child is showing symptoms?
- Call your primary care physician.
- Avoid the emergency room unless your child genuinely needs emergency care.
- If your kids are sick, keep them home. Be vigilant and wash your hands.
- Protect yourself and others.
State COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725
State Updates: www.kycovid19.ky.gov
Lexington Coronavirus – COVID-19 Page: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/coronavirus-response
UK HealthCare Questions and Answers about COVID-19: https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/about/questions-answers-covid-19-coronaviru