How to Explain COVID-19 to Children

The Covid-19 outbreak has changed the way people live at the moment. With some areas under lock down or quarantine, the usual activities have been put on hold.

While most of the population understands why lock downs and quarantine have to be implemented, the younger set might not easily comprehend these changes. This experience might be new to them. For instance, their classes have been suspended and they have to go online to study. Or they can no longer go to the parks and malls during weekends.

5 Ways to Help Children Understand

Qatar Foundation asked experts from Sidra Medicine on how parents can help explain the Covid-19 pandemic to children. Here are the suggestions from the experts:

  1. Talk about the outbreak – parents should explain to the children about the virus, and what can the family do to be safe and protected. Children will not be afraid if they understand what is going on around them. It can also lessen prejudice and discrimination towards others
  2. Promote good health practices – this is the right time to teach children how to cough into to the elbow, how to wash hands properly, and how to keep from touching their faces. Children should understand that by doing these good practices, they are helping the family from getting sick. Parents can make this a game to make it enjoyable for the little ones
  3. Make them feel heard – children should be able to voice their concerns regarding the outbreak. If they feel scared, the adults should let them know that it is ok to feel this way. The trusted adults can also give advice to the children to lessen their concerns. It is important to check with the children often to see if they are coping
  4. Help them embrace the uncertainty – parents are allowed to tell their children that even they do not have the answers to all the questions. So parents can share to their children any verified information they have about the development regarding the outbreak. Children will also be more comfortable if the parents can reassure them that they are doing their best to protect their family from the virus
  5. Keep them engaged – while everyone is at home, parents can maintain their normal schedule. Children can also be given other activities that are appropriate for their age. They can also be encouraged to help in the chores and learn new skills.

These are just some of the ways parents can help their children get through the pandemic. While no one can say when this will end, the family will be stronger if they understand what everyone is going through.

Qatar Foundation is a non-profit organization composed of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development. It has partnered with leading international institutions, and aims to address challenges, create global opportunities and empower to people of Qatar to shape their present and future.