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Understanding Coronavirus

Just like adults, children often struggle to cope with the emotional impact of such life-changing events - they can become distressed, disorientated and unfocussed, to such an extent that they have difficulty maintaining their normal daily routine. 

Every child is different, and each copes with stressful life events in their own way. However, watch out for changes in the behaviour of a child you care for. Their response to trauma might be to change from outgoing to withdrawn or from introverted to exuberant, or from placid to irritable - the change in behaviour is the child's way of telling you that something is wrong. Read more about how to support your child through trauma.

We know that children may be worried about Coronavirus and what will happen to them or their loved ones during this uncertain time. Below you can find some resources to support children and introduce ways you can talk about Coronavirus without promoting worry:

  • Encouraging handwashing - washing your hands is the most effective way of keeping germs away. The NHS has useful information on how to wash your hands including a video that children could watch. You should wash your hands for around 20 seconds. There are various ways to help small children understand how long they should wash their hands for, for example, by singing "If you're happy and you know it" or "Happy Birthday" through twice.
  • Don’t Worry, Little Bear! This lovely story on the Early Years Story Book website, is to help explain Coronavirus to children and to assure them that everything will be okay. The author and illustrator, Stacey Kelly, writes, "As a parent myself, I have noticed that my little ones are feeling really confused by it all! I've created this book (and activities) to help not only my children, but every other child out there to be able to understand what is going on and to process their thoughts and feelings about it all."
  • Coronavirus: a book for children This free e-book has been created by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson & Nia Roberts with consultant Professor Graham Medley Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It is a great book for older readers or for reading to children who may have questions about coronavirus. Download it here.