When my 5-year-old was diagnosed with the flu a few weeks ago, we donned our proverbial hazmat suits and went to work. We moved a TV into her room (with the Minno app, of course!), gave her a table for art and eating, and kept surgical masks hanging on her doorknob. We entered only to deliver medicine and food. Extreme? Perhaps. She (thankfully not feeling too sick) thought it was hilarious, and two of the three of the rest of us were spared catching the flu. We taught her quite a bit about germs and what it means to be contagious during those few days, which prepared us well for conversations about the new coronavirus outbreak.
This flu season has been particularly fierce, and on its tails lurks the much-hyped COVID-19, a form of the common coronavirus. (The coronavirus causes many upper respiratory illnesses, like the common cold.) This particular strain is “novel,” which means this is the first time humans have been infected by it. It is all over the news, propelled by a rising death toll and fears it will spread rapidly across the United States.
We’re not immunologists here at Minno, and so while we can’t provide scientific details about the outbreak and varying predictions about its severity, we can suggest a few helpful ways to discuss it with your kids.
So if your kids come to you wanting to talk about COVID-19, here are a few ideas for what to talk about.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
1. Pray for the people affected by COVID-19.
Remind your kids that God heals, and Jesus healed many people during his time on earth. That doesn’t mean He will always heal, but it does mean that He cares about our physical bodies. And Revelation 21:4 says that one day, there will be no more tears and no more death. Pray that God will heal those who are sick, protect those who have compromised immune systems and that He will end the outbreak.
2. Pray for the scientists working to stop the COVID-19 outbreak.
Talk to your kids about the thousands of scientists and doctors all over the world working to fight the coronavirus. Isn’t it amazing how God equips people with scientific gifts and talents? Pray specifically that they will figure out how to prevent and treat COVID-19.
3. Pray for world leaders during the outbreak.
Ask your kids what they think it would be like to be the leader of a country right now. Talk about the pressures that those leaders are facing. Then take time to pray for world leaders as they try to make rules and invest money to protect people from the virus. Ask God to fill them with wisdom.
4. Remind kids to always WASH THEIR HANDS.
If your kids are worried about getting sick, this is a great time to remind them of the best way to stay healthy: wash your hands! Remind them of the handwashing rules: warm soapy water for 20 seconds (as long as it takes you to sing the ABCs). Talk about coughing into your elbow instead of your hands or the air, and staying home to rest (with extra naps!) if you don’t feel well. Take a trip to the store and pick out mini bottles of hand sanitizer for everyone’s backpack. Practice good hygiene, pray, and stay aware of what’s happening with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
5. Put their minds at ease.
This is a great opportunity to talk with your kids (especially older kids) about how we can’t take everything we read or hear in the news at face value. We should do our own digging to find accurate information from credible sources. And at the end of the day, the best thing we can do is to stay calm and pray for God to protect and guide us.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NLT)
If your kids are feeling a lot of anxiety about getting sick and the coronavirus, check out this post from our friend and counselor, Sissy Goff.