Your questions on Coronavirus: for children, young people and families

It is important you answer children and young people's questions about COVID-19 in a way they can understand, without causing alarm.

Without the facts, children and young people may imagine far worse situations than reality. They also need concrete information on how to avoid spreading the virus.

  • Mencap has created an easy read resources with questions and answers.
  • You can also watch the following video together.
Coronavirus explained to children and young people

If you care for a child or a young person with a long term condition, you can find information on the Great Ormond Street Hospital website. For those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing there is also a series of videos in BSL. Resources for parents of children with SEND are available from Skylarks and a health diary is also available from RCPCH.

Let the child/young person's questions and age guide you to how much information you share

  • Younger children will need brief, simple information and reassurance that they are safe, and that the people they care about are safe
  • Older children may need support separating reality from rumors and fake news. Either give them the facts, show them THIS poster or direct them HERE, where they can find accurate and factual information about the virus. This knowledge helps them feel a sense of control
  • Explain that in the UK very few people are sick with the virus at the moment
  • Reassure them that the Government is working hard to make sure people in the UK are safe
  • Tell them that not everyone will get the virus and if they do, the vast majority is going to recover fully.

To help children and young people cope with the stress caused by Coronavirus, the World Health Organisation have created specific advice that is available HERE. If they are anxious:

  • Give them extra attention and time to express their concerns and answer their questions
  • Let them talk about their feelings and guide them to re-frame their thoughts in a more helpful way. Remember they may take some time to do so
  • YoungMinds have created some information designed to help them feel less anxious or suggest they get external support. See a full list of services available locally on www.yolweb.info. Please be advised that due to service changes during the outbreak, face-to-face meetings are not going to be possible but online and telephone support is still available.

Finally, it is important that children and young people will keep following a daily routine as much as possible as it can be reassuring. Encouraging schoolwork and extra-curricular activities is positive but they should not be pushed to do so if upset or overwhelmed.

If you have children under 5, you may want to join Richmond's Children's Centres online sessions. Join their groups for Rhythm & Rhyme and Crafty Tales HERE!

If you have older children do give them our Coronavirus guide for teenagers and wellbeing tips, or suggest they'll follow our Youth Out Loud! on Twitter and Instagram.

In any case, don't forget to look after your own mental health. Children and young people in fact, react to what they see or hear from adults around them. Have a look at OUR PAGE on how to look after yourself during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Your child is unwell. Is he/she too ill for school?

This can be tricky. If your child is well enough to go to school but has an infection that could be passed on, such as a cold sore or head lice, a minor cough or cold, just let their teacher know. They should still be able to attend school, but if they have a fever keep them off school until it goes. This video shows you the difference between cold, flu and Coronavirus.

Does your child have Coronavirus?

If you think your child may have Coronavirus you can book a test. THIS page will tell you  if he/she can be tested and how.

One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, students, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with COVID-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
— Professor Viv Bennett CBE- Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and Early Years, Public Health England

HERE is a list of principles to be followed when deciding if you should book a Coronavirus test for your child.

For more information:

 

Looking for further information about coronavirus?

We have brought together the latest information about coronavirus including how you can get involved and help your community, and how to help your wellbeing during these uncertain times. 

Find out more