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A Guide to Answering Your Kid’s Coronavirus Questions

Posted by Gerald Lombardo on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 11:10am.

Even if you have managed to keep your child or toddler away from news about COVID-19 in the media or overhearing adult conversations, they are bound to have questions.

Here are some age-appropriate responses from ZeroThree.org to the common questions a toddler might have. Most importantly, remember to keep your answers simple and age-appropriate.

  • Why can’t I play with that little boy over there?  We have to take a break from playing with others so we can all stay healthy.

  • Why can’t I have a turn with that toy?  We can’t play with other children’s toys right now, so we can all stay healthy.

  • Why are we wiping down everything with wipes?  We wipe things down to keep them clean. You don’t need to explain more than this—young children don’t understand germs or infection transmission yet.

  • Why is that person wearing a mask?  Sometimes people wear masks when they aren’t feeling well.

  • Why won’t Grandpa (or other loved one) kiss or hug me?  Reassure your child that their loved one still loves and cares about them very much. Then you can explain: When a grown-up has a cold, they can keep others from getting sick by not hugging or kissing for a while. When they feel better and are healthy again, the first thing they’ll do is give you a big kiss!

  • Why can’t I see mommy (or daddy, grandma, etc.)?  If an adult in a child’s life needs to be separate from them, children may feel confused about it. Don’t worry your young child by talking about sickness or quarantine. You can say, Mommy needs to be away for a little while, but she will be back soon. Consider ways to stay connected even when physically apart, like video between parent and child.

  • Why can’t I go to child care/school?  Your child care is closed right now. Your teacher and your friends are home too, just like you. When child care is open again, you can go back and see your friends. I’ll tell you when. Avoid going into details about illness so toddlers don’t develop fears about attending child care.

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