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How to talk to your kids about COVID-19

parents on couch with two boysPrepare to speak with them. It is important that you stay calm when you speak to your kids about COVID-19. Before speaking with them, soothe your own nerves by researching current COVID-19 information. There is a lot of uncertainty and it is understandable that even you may be experiencing some anxiety or frustration during the pandemic. Click here to learn about the most current COVID-19 information.

Be age appropriate. Make sure you talk at your child(ren)’s level. The way you speak to a middle school student will be different than a preschooler. Try not to use big words when explaining COVID-19 and relate it in terms they will understand.

Listen to their questions and answer honestly. Children can be overwhelmed with trying to process a lot of information at once. Give them time to ask questions and don’t get frustrated if they keep asking the same question – they may be looking to you for constant reassurance.

Stay positive. Reassure your child(ren) that there are scientists, healthcare professionals and many other people working very hard to keep us all safe. ​Processing information about COVID-19 can result in many different emotions, but try your best to always remain positive.


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How can I get my child to wear a mask in public?

The best way to ensure your child will wear a mask in public is preparation. The first time they wear a mask should not be at school or going to an appointment. Utilizing playful face covering exercises at home will help them better understand the importance of wearing a mask and allow them to become more comfortable with the practice.

Remember to talk at your child’s level when explaining COVID-19. For example:

“Many people are wearing masks now to keep themselves from getting sick from a virus called COVID-19. When you are at school or in public, you need to wear your mask. The germs that make us sick like to live in our mouth, nose and on our hands. To keep ourselves and other people from getting sick, we wear our masks over our mouth and nose. This is to make sure that our germs don’t get out, and to keep anyone else’s germs from getting in. Once your mask is on: Don’t touch it! Also, don’t touch your mouth or nose either. If you accidently touch your mask – it’s okay – just be sure to wash your hands.”

 

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Parents: normalize your own face covering and wear it around your home. Kids learn by example, so remember to stay positive when you are referencing and wearing your own mask.
  • Remind your child how doctors, nurses and superheroes all wear masks – refer to the mask as part of their uniform. Put a face covering on their favorite stuffed animal.
  • Ask your child to imitate their favorite superhero or stuffed animal by wearing their face covering. Have them do this for a short duration at first and slowly increase until they get to five or more minutes without taking it off.
  • Let your child see themselves wearing their face covering in a mirror or let them take a picture. You can also give them coloring pages of someone wearing a mask. Here are sample superhero coloring pages for your child to use.
  • Positively reinforce your child wearing their face covering: “You are a true superhero!” or “Great job keeping everyone safe!”
  • Let your child pick out and order their own face covering online. They will be eager to try it on when it arrives and feel like it is truly their own.
  • If necessary, you can reward them for wearing a face covering.
  • Repeat these steps at home, giving your child ample time to understand and adjust to their mask.
Reference: Huston & Miller. (2020, May 21) Helping kids seeing and wearing masks. 700 Children’s.https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2020/05/helping-kids-get-used-to-seeing-and-wearing-masks

 

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Mask Coloring Pages Your Child Can become a Friend of a Hero

willow wearing a mask and holding coloring pages for friend of a hero campaign

Use one of our Friend of a Hero coloring pages to help talk to your child about COVID-19. They are a superhero when they wear their face covering and keep people safe from germs. Snap a photo of them with their coloring page and wearing their face covering. Use #fmcsuperhero when you post the photo on social media so we can see their superhero powers!

Download a coloring page:

 

 

 

Friend of a hero
Be a Friend of a HERO

The Friend of a Hero campaign supports Fairfield Medical Center Foundation’s Hero Fund, which provides COVID-19 relief to staff, and supports Fairfield Medical Center’s response during the pandemic.

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This article will help you understand the facts about pediatric mental health and provide information on how to help maintain your child’s well-being.

Pregnant woman using a laptop computer
COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Find out what you need to know if you are pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what FMC is doing to keep you and your baby safe.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Your child can back up, mask up and wash up while at school to help protect others. If they feel ill, they should never go to school or tell a teacher immediately if they start to feel sick at school.

  • COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, and a wide range of symptoms have been reported. Below are the most common symptoms that may indicate a person has COVID-19.

    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

    Seek immediate medical attention, if you have any of these emergency warning signs:

    • Sudden trouble breathing
    • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face
    • Severe abdominal pain

    To find out more about the symptoms of COVID-19, visit the CDC website.

  • Parents or guardians who feel their child is in need of a COVID-19 test should contact their pediatrician directly. If your child does not have a pediatrician, you can contact one of FMC’s primary care providers, be seen at First Medical Urgent Care or call FMC’s COVID-19 Call Center at 740-687-8818.

Additional Resources