Explaining Coronavirus To Kids & Teens | Healthy Shenzhen

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Explaining Coronavirus to Kids & Teens

Talking about Coronavirus with your kids can be daunting. Here are some teaching tips gathered from parents, Doctors, Registered Nurses and Teachers about this complicated topic, separated by age group. Read & share!

 

1: Skills for Toddlers

Hint: This section actually applies to everyone, probably including you!

Thankfully, younger kids won't understand much about Coronavirus. Just remind them about how to avoid dirty "germs". What to tell them about Coronavirus? 

"Right now there are lots of germs outside, so we need to be extra clean!"

 

You can save your words, and just teach better hygiene skills, which in these times we ALL need.

 

 Skill 1:  Good Handwashing

 

Teach kids to wash hands when getting home, before eating and if they touch anything dirty. Teach kids to sing a song while handwashing to make it last longer "Mary had a little lamb".

Also, get in habit of using alcohol hand sanitizer in public spaces if touching many surfaces.

 Skill 2:  Don't touch your face

Keep your expectations low for this one; goldfish probably have longer attention spans than most small kids, but try to point out when they do and redirect. Even adults touch their faces dozens of times / dayMasks can help reduce face touching in some kids (but increase it in others)

 Skill 3:  Cough / Sneeze into Elbow

Kids rarely have the foresight to grab a tissue to sneeze/cough into. So train them to use their elbow/ shoulder (but NOT their hands). It may take a while to catch on, but it's well worth the effort. Demonstrate and practice often. 

 

Cough on your Kids - Activity

Reinforce hand washing by pretending to sneeze and cough on your kids. Make it a game by occasionally play-coughing / sneezing and having them run to wash their hands. Bonus points if you use a spray bottle..

 

2: Teaching Kids 

Kids are sponges. They can absorb a lot but need guidance in processing it. Keep ahead of the game by being starting the conversation early and keeping it going. It's a lot to absorb. Here's a sample script for teaching kids (alternative wording suggestions are in brackets).

 Introduction  

What is Corona?

  • Corona is a germ (sickness) that is similar to the cold. [remind them of their last cold]

 

  • A cold is when you cough and sneeze for a week or two. Sometime you have a fever – feeling hot and chilly at the same time. But after a week or so, you’re better.

 

  • With Corona, a few older people can get much sicker, making it hard to breathe (this is called pneumonia). Very sick people have to stay at the hospital with doctors.

 

 Reducing Fear  

Why Children are Safer 

  • This sickness is new so a lot of TV  and websites are talking about

 

  • Not everything said by friends, the TV or the internet is true. 

 

  • A lot of information is hard to understand, even for adults. The worlds smartest doctors are working together to learn more and treat the sickness (help sick people).

  • Children rarely get sick from this new sickness. Doctors think immunizations might help kids.

(needles you had to protect you from sicknesses) Remind them of their last immunization.

 

  • You don't need to be scared. But if you are, tell an adult.

 

Wellness Tip: Avoid leaving the TV or Youtube on 24-hour news. It doesn't help you or your children's fears to be constantly innundated with Cornavirus News. Limit your exposure.

 Practical Skills  

How Corona Spreads

  • When a sick person coughs or sneezes they spray tiny, tiny drops of germs near them.

 

  • The sneeze drops can float in the air for and fall on nearby things.

 

  • If you touch these things then touch your face you can get sick, so wash your hands a lot.

  • If you breathe in these drops sometimes you get sick too. This is why people wear masks.

 

Walk it out - Activity

Teach kids how far a sneeze or cough can really travel by having them first guess, then measure and walk out how far germs from a coughing / sneezing person can really travel (about 3 meters!). 

 

2: Teaching Kids 

3: Engaging Teens

Teens and tweens learn need more than just to be taught, they need to be engaged. So our suggestion is to involve them. Don't just tell them; make them research 2019nCov themselves.

Here are some websites to start you off: (some require V.P'N)

For easy-to-understand counts of # of patients: 

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Viruses vs bacteria:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infectious-diseases/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20058098

To understand how big the yearly flu is: 

www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

 

Thorough news coverage with less sensationalism:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51449675?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cyz0z8w0ydwt/coronavirus-outbreak&link_location=live-reporting-story

If your child hears or reads some sensational news, ask them to bring it to you to research together. Try to research the source and whether the news is trustworthy. If you're not sure either, ask a friend who's 

 

  • Why is the Flu

  • Why do you think most people rarely think about the flu?

 

  • A lot of information is hard to understand, even for adults. The worlds smartest doctors are working together to learn more and treat the sickness (help sick people).

  • Children rarely get sick from this new sickness. Doctors think immunizations might help kids.

(needles you had to protect you from sicknesses) Remind them of their last immunization.

 

  • You don't need to be scared. But if you are, tell an adult.

 

Wellness Tip: Avoid leaving the TV or Youtube on 24-hour news. It doesn't help you or your children's fears to be constantly inundated with Cornavirus News. Limit your exposure.

 Practical Skills  

What Can you do?

  • What's the most important ways to protect yourself. List at least 3

  •  

  • en a sick person coughs or sneezes they spray tiny, tiny drops of germs near them.

 

  • The sneeze drops can float in the air for and fall on nearby things.

 

  • If you touch these things then touch your face you can get sick, so wash your hands a lot.

  • If you breathe in these drops sometimes you get sick too. This is why people wear masks.

 

Vocabulary to Learn

Incubation (onset)

Pneumonia

Quarantine

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