If you are concerned your child has COVID-19 please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 or visithttps://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirusfor more information.
Many parents are looking for advice about how to best support their children to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. With the situation rapidly changing, frequent news of people becoming unwell, and many children unable to continue with their normal activities, it is a very unsettling time for families. This fact sheet contains some information for parents and carers to help them support their children and answer their questions during this challenging and uncertain time.
Talk about coronavirus with your children
It’s important not to avoid talking about coronavirus with your children - avoiding the topic may make them feel more worried and unsure about what’s going on. Many children will already have thoughts and ideas about coronavirus, so start by asking them what they know. Use open-ended questions and address any worries, fear or false information they may have heard. It’s okay to tell kids that we don’t have all the answers but when we know more we will share it with them.
Be open and honest, but age-appropriate
Stick to the facts, but think about your child’s age when sharing information with them. Children of different ages will need different answers. Keep it simple and clear for young kids and provide more detailed information for older children and teenagers.
It’s important to remind children that although they might catch the virus, it is unlikely to make them very unwell. Tell them that if they do get sick it will be similar to a cold that they may have experienced before. They may get a fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat and be sick for a few days or around a week, and they will get better. It’s okay to tell children that adults are more likely to get sick, especially if they are elderly or have a medical condition. Let them know that most of the strategies they see in the community, like hand washing and social distancing, are actually to help protect the most vulnerable. By doing these things they are helping to protect others.
Stay positive and hopeful
It is helpful to stay positive and hopeful when discussing coronavirus with your children. Often the media focuses on worrying and negative aspects, so your children may become overwhelmed and think the situation is hopeless. Explain that there are lots of doctors and scientists working really hard to find out about this virus, and that they are learning new things every day. Let them know that many people around the world have recovered from coronavirus. It’s important for them to know that although things are different at the moment, and may be hard for a while, things will eventually return to normal.
Limit information children get through the media
There is lots of information in the media about coronavirus and it is likely that your children are seeing and hearing this through the TV, radio and online. Try to limit how much your child watches, hears and reads in the news, including on social media. Seeing graphic images or reading about the increasing number of cases of coronavirus can become overwhelming and upsetting. It’s especially important to try to limit your child’s exposure to frightening material in the news or online.
Focus on the things children can control
We need to help children focus on what they can do to stay safe and healthy. By giving children practical things that they can do will help them to feel empowered rather than helpless. Remind children about hand hygiene – make sure they know how to wash their hands properly and remind them to do this before and after they eat, as well as after touching their face or blowing their nose. See our video on keeping well. Teach them how to cough or sneeze into their elbow. Remind them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Where possible, crowds should be avoided and people should refrain from close physical contact with people outside of their household. Show kids how to greet each other hands-free such as by touching elbows or feet.
Keeping well through physical activity, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep are also really important ways to support your children. Lots of children are disappointed that their regular sport and other activities may be cancelled. Find other ways to keep your kids active, such as spending time in the backyard or going for a family walk, run or bike ride.
Stick to routines where possible
Children need routine more than ever during uncertain and unpredictable times. Maintain as much normality in the house and daily life as you can and include family time. You can structure your child’s routine around meal time and bedtimes, as well as online learning activities for older children. Try to factor some physical activity into the day, as this is important for children of all ages, and good for adults too.
Show your children that you are calm
Children look to their parents and carers as a guide about how to react to situations. Even very young children are sensitive to stress and anxiety in adults. Parents and carers need to manage their own emotions and anxiety to help keep kids calm. Try not to talk to children about coronavirus when you are feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed. You can ask your partner or another trusted adult to speak with them.
Look out for signs of anxiety or stress in your children
Everyone reacts differently in stressful situations. Some children are naturally more anxious than others, and coronavirus may affect them a lot. Keep an eye out for highly anxious or unusual behaviour in your children. Younger children may show signs such as a change in behaviour, being more emotional, having temper tantrums or trouble sleeping or eating. Older children can show these signs too or they may also appear distracted, have trouble concentrating or become forgetful. Some children may develop repetitive or obsessive behaviours, such as excessive fear of germs or contamination.
Make sure you keep having conversations with your children about other things besides COVID-19. Take the time to sit with your child and listen to what they are worried about. If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of high levels of anxiety or stress, seek advice from your GP.
Look after yourself too
Uncertain and stressful times can put a lot of strain on family relationships. In order to best support children, it is important that parents look after themselves too during this very stressful and difficult time. Try to find time for adequate rest and self-care. If you are feeling particularly stressed, overwhelmed or unsafe, or that you are not able to support your children in the way that you would like, please reach out to family and friends or your GP.
Key points toremember
- Children look to adults as a guide about how to react in stressful situations
- Stay calm, positive and hopeful when talking with your child about coronavirus
- Keep information clear, honest and age-appropriate
- Limit media exposure about coronavirus
- Give children practical things to do, like good hand hygiene, to help them feel in control
- Make sure you and your child stay physically active
- If you or your child are feeling overwhelmed or stressed seek help from friends, family or your GP
- Try to make time to answer your child’s questions and keep the communication channels open
- Kids Health Info fact sheet: Family violence
- Kids Health Info fact sheet: Hand washing
- The Royal Children’s Hospital: Coronavirus
- The Royal Children’s Hospital: Staying well
- Be Positive: A child's guide to hospital: Personal Protective Equipment
- Be Positive: A child's guide to hospital: What is COVID-19?
- Department of Health and Human Services: Coronavirus disease
- Health Direct: Coronavirus
- Raising Children Network: Coronavirus and children
- National Child Traumatic Stress Centre: COVID-19 outbreak
- Ambulance Victoria: Children and COVID-19
- Zero to three: Tips to make the most of video chats
- Zero to three: Tips for families
Common questionsour doctors are asked
My child is worried that their grandparentmight get very sick or die from coronavirus. What should I tell them? It is important to be honest but hopeful and positive. Tell your child that by practising things like social isolation and hand hygiene can help to protect older relatives from catching the virus. Also tell them that we have excellent hospitals here in Australia, with lots of doctors and nurses ready to look after people if they become sick.
My childstill wants to see their friends and has asked if we can have a play date. Whatshould I do? Explain to your child that one way we can all help to stop the coronavirus from spreading by spending less time mixing with other people. Instead of a play date, think about other ways they can socially connect with their friends, such as through facetime, a phone call or writing a letter. Explain that things won’t be this way forever, and things will return to normal eventually.
My child has heard about people dying in the news and isworried it is going to happen to them. What should I say?
Reassure your child that coronavirus does not make children very sick and they will not die from coronavirus. If they do catch it, they are likely to have cold, with similar symptoms to those they have experienced before, such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough and fever, and they would likely get better in a week or so.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital General Medicine, Psychology, Social Work and Mental Health departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed March 2020.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.
Loving our children takes many forms, such as tending to their physical and emotional needs, providing a stable and secure family environment, showing affection, respecting their individual personalities, taking a genuine interest in their lives, talking about things that matter, and affirming their efforts and ...What can I do to cope with the effect of Covid 19 pandemic? ›
Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.How can we help children's well being? ›
- Playing outside. Research shows that children have a need to be outside, taking opportunities to explore, discover, climb and run. ...
- Use emotional language. ...
- Stop rushing. ...
- Being creative. ...
- Join in.
- Protect yourself and others from COVID-19. ...
- Help your local food pantry. ...
- Give blood if you're able. ...
- Volunteer your time. ...
- Check on neighbors and family members, especially those who live alone, are elderly, have health or mobility issues or are caring for children.
- Be happy, have fun, be kind to your body and heart. ...
- Know what to let go of. ...
- You're in charge of your own life. ...
- RELATED: 10 FUNNIEST TEXT FAILS FROM PARENTS TO KIDS.
- Earning your own money will give you a sense of pride, but don't spend every penny.
Setting limits and being consistent is the golden rule to good discipline. Be kind and firm when you set rules and enforce them. Focus on the reason behind the child's misbehavior. And make it an opportunity for them to learn for the future in a positive way, rather than to get punished for the past.How do you cope up as a student this pandemic? ›
Tips for college students:
- Know that it is okay to feel how you are feeling. ...
- Maintain a routine. ...
- Practice good sleep hygiene. ...
- Connect with others. ...
- Take a break.
Be proactive because this attitude gives you the power and control of the uncertain situation. Also, taking care of yourself will not only help you stay healthy, it will also help you stay calm and focused so that you can adequately take care of your children. Dedicate time to activities that improve your mood.How pandemic affect the life of students? ›
Expectations for behavior and academic performance are known and familiar. When schools closed earlier this month students lost this structure and routine. Many were sent home with packets of assignments to complete but it is up to them to decide when and in what order they will do the assignments.Why is it important to support a child's well-being? ›
Children need to develop a positive sense of themselves and others and a positive disposition to learn. Children's emotional well-being helps them to know themselves and what they can do.
Research has consistently shown that good early childhood development will have a direct positive impact on a child's long-term health outcomes and will improve future opportunities, school attainment and even earning potential.What is the importance of health and wellbeing for children? ›
Learning through health and wellbeing enables children and young people to: make informed decisions in order to improve their mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. experience challenge and enjoyment. experience positive aspects of healthy living and activity for themselves.How can I help my child with Covid? ›
They get better with rest, fluids, and fever-reducing medicine. A very few kids who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 can get certain medicines, such as antiviral drugs or monoclonal antibodies, to keep them from getting very sick and needing hospital care.What are some tips to calm your child during the COVID-19 outbreak? ›
If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax. Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.How do parents support their child? ›
Loving your child can be as simple as giving them hugs, spending time with them, and listening to their issues seriously every day. Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. These neurochemicals can bring us a deep sense of calm, emotional warmth, and contentment.What are some advice for students? ›
- Get Organized. Making a plan for what you're going to do and when you're going to do it will make sure you're always ahead of the curve - literally.
- Don't multitask. ...
- Divide it up. ...
- Sleep. ...
- Set a schedule. ...
- Take notes. ...
- Study. ...
- Manage your study space.
- Make kindness the central theme of your life. ...
- Tolerate discomfort. ...
- Live with total integrity. ...
- Let go of what other people think of you. ...
- Invite constructive criticism from the people who want the best for you.
Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.What is the most important role of parents? ›
The proper role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable the child to master key developmental tasks. A child's learning and socialization are most influenced by their family since the family is the child's primary social group. Happy parents raise happy children.What are the most essential things children need in order to successfully achieve happiness competence and identity? ›
5 Things Every Child Needs To Be Successful In Life
- A reliable environment. ...
- Opportunities to grow. ...
- Connectivity. ...
- Encouragement. ...
- Problem solving skills.
Eat well, get enough sleep, be physically active (find out more about getting active), cut down on alcohol, and take time to relax as well as working and studying. Read about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing. Avoid drugs, including lots of caffeine - this can have a negative impact on your stress levels and wellbeing.How do you handle stress especially in this time of pandemic? ›
By taking the focus off yourself, you can experience reduced stress and a greater sense of well-being. Have a daily self-care ritual. Self-care can include exercise, meditation, walking outside, reading, taking a bubble bath, painting, journaling, gardening, cooking a healthy meal or enjoying a favorite hobby.How do you deal with stress in a pandemic essay? ›
Interview With a Mental Health Professional
- Self-care, not school work, should be your No. 1 priority. ...
- Set healthy boundaries with your loved ones. ...
- Set boundaries with yourself. ...
- Create a happy workspace. ...
- Follow a daily routine.
- Staying positive.
- Using stress as a motivator.
- Accepting what you can't control.
- Practicing relaxation methods, like yoga or meditation.
- Choosing healthy habits.
- Learning how to manage time better.
- Making time for your personal life.
- Communicate – Share your thoughts with your loved ones and invite them to do the same. ...
- Connect – While your family is self-isolating, reach out and connect on a regular basis with family and friends to chat or celebrate special occasions virtually.
Treating a high temperature
- get lots of rest.
- drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear.
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.
Schools are likely still working to address the loss of instructional time and drops in student achievement due to pandemic-related school disruptions. Further, many children with special education plans experienced missed or delayed services and loss of instructional time during the pandemic.How does pandemic affect mental health of students? ›
“20% of college students say their mental health has worsened…” Read more. “Nearly three in 10 (29%) say their child is “already experiencing harm” to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and closures.How is COVID-19 affecting children's mental health? ›
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of children and adolescents is multifaceted and substantial. Survey studies regarding child and adolescent mental health amid COVID-19 indicated that anxiety, depression, loneliness, stress, and tension are the most observed symptoms.Why is caring for children important? ›
High-quality child care keeps children safe and healthy. In addition, it helps children develop skills they will need for success in school and in their lives outside of school: Social, emotional and communication skills.
The first value is the child's self-esteem, the ability to listen to his needs, and his strengths. Instilling self-love in children is achieved through continuous and selfless giving, support, praise, and hugs. Respect your child's feelings and encourage them to communicate with them.What is the most important time in a child life? ›
Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child's development. Here are some tips to consider during your child's early years: Be warm, loving, and responsive.Why is it important to take care of your family? ›
We should also care about our families just because they are our families. They are people who we know and we want what is best FOR them. We care not because of what we get from them, but because we love them.How can good care of children's overall health? ›
How can good care of children's overall health be ensured? (I)Taking adequate diet, personal hygiene and sanitation (2) Practice hand washing, cover mouth and nose while sneezing, eat healthy, get good sleep & rest. (3)Practice hand washing and cover their mouth.Why is it important to promote children's health and wellbeing? ›
Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.Why is health and wellness important for children? ›
Your child's health is the foundation of all growth and development. Of course, your child's health includes more than physical growth. Some other important parts of your child's health include their cognitive (learning and thinking) development, social and emotional growth, and mental health.What are the responsibilities of parents to their child? ›
- to protect your child from harm.
- to provide your child with food, clothing and a place to live.
- to financially support your child.
- to provide safety, supervision and control.
- to provide medical care.
- to provide an education.
Research shows that positive parenting helps children do better in school, have fewer behavioral problems, and stronger mental health.What do parents want most for their child? ›
You want your child to listen, respect and trust you rather than fear you. You want to be supportive, but not a hovering, helicopter parent. All of these things are easy to set as goals, but hard to achieve .