Talking to children about COVID-19

| July 20, 2020

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Children need to know about the new coronavirus, but it can be difficult to talk about a serious virus that may or may not affect your family, neighbours, and community. There are a lot of unknowns about COVID-19 and many myths, which can make it even more difficult to discuss with children. But it’s important that children take precautions too, like physical distancing and frequent handwashing.

UNICEF has published some tips on how to talk to children about the new coronavirus:

  1. Ask open questions and listen.
  2. Be honest: explain the truth in a child-friendly way.
  3. Show them how to protect themselves and their friends.
  4. Offer reassurance.
  5. Check if they are experiencing or spreading stigma.
  6. Look for helpers.
  7. Take care of yourself.
  8. Close conversations with care.

Read more here:

Here are some resources from Save the Children Uganda on talking to children about the new coronavirus:

Poems: Children recorded three short poems specially written by a Ugandan poet, based on Save the Children messages about general prevention, handwashing, and physical distancing. They are available in English, and can be used as part of radio broadcasts or shared via social media.

Listen and download the full collection.

There is also a children’s song about good handwashing and general COVID-19 prevention. Listen to it in English or Luganda.

UNICEF has also produced a song about coronavirus and hygiene practices performed by Jizzle.

Radio spots: As the mental health impact of the COVID-19 situation increases and becomes more apparent, Save the Children Uganda recorded a series of 10 short audio messages aimed at younger children, parents, and caregivers. The audio files explain simple activities to do at home to relieve stress and stay mentally healthy.

Read the Stressbusters radio scripts or listen to the full collection.

Save the Children Uganda has also created five short audio messages on a range of issues important to children and parents, including good handwashing practices, physical distancing, and reporting abuse.

Read the radio scripts or listen to the full collection.

Stories: Save the Children and other NGOs have collaborated on stories to explain COVID-19. Read the comic strip or the storybook, called My Hero is You: How kids can fight COVID-19.

Videos: Save the Children has also produced two videos showing proper handwashing techniques, one with children around the world demonstrating and the other with animations.

UNICEF has also produced an animated video called How to protect yourself from coronavirus.