Dr Mark Rosenthal


Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8754

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

How to Talk About COVID-19 with Children

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic influence on all our lives. It can be particularly confusing and upsetting for children, especially those who are at higher risk due to a respiratory condition. Here are some tips to help your child to understand what’s going on.

Finding Time to Talk

  • Set aside some quiet time to sit down with your child to explain the facts on COVID-19 in a clear, calm way
  • Don’t feel as if you have to say everything in one go as you can follow up with smaller, more casual conversations
  • Chatting over dinner or a shared activity can make it easier for children to open up
  • Make time every day to chat openly with your child so they have a chance to raise any questions or concerns about anything
  • Some children may find it easier to write down their worries or to express themselves in other ways
  • Talking to friends can make a big difference, so make sure your child has a safe way to socialize by phone, online, or even by sending a letter

Giving Children the Facts on COVID-19

  • Keep it simple for young children: there’s a nasty illness and we need to take care to stop it spreading
  • Older children will need more detail and you can point them to trustworthy resources such as the WHO or reputable news sources where they can learn more
  • Don’t feel pressured to have all the answers, but do suggest looking up more information together if your child has questions
  • Make sure children know what they can do to protect themselves and others through handwashing and social distancing
  • Activities such as creating rainbow drawings, raising money for charity or helping a neighbor can help children feel more in control
  • Reassure your child that the risks are low and that everyone is working hard to protect each other