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Families across the country are adapting to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are parents trying to keep children occupied and entertained, but also helping children understand the pandemic.
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness.
How should I answer my child's questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
When talking to your child about COVID-19 remain calm and reassuring.
Additional resources to help you talk to your child about COVID-19
My child is more emotional recently. Is this normal?
Anxiety and fear are normal during this time even for children. Every child is different, and they will show their stress in different ways.
Common behavior changes you may notice include:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Toileting accidents or bedwetting
- Irritability or “acting out” in teens
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
As a parent or guardian, you can:
- Take time to answer your child or teenager’s questions about the outbreak. Use
KidsHealth, the Centers for Disease Control & Infection, and Healthy Children by the American Academy of Pediatrics tips to navigate questions and concerns from children and teens.
- Reassure your child that they are safe.
- Maintain regular routines, like bedtime, meals, physical activity, and family time, while allowing some flexibility. Physical and mental health needs can change, and you may need to adapt your schedule occasionally.
- Be a role model for how to handle stressful experiences. If you are showing you are overly worried or anxious, this may cause your child to become more anxious too. Seek out support for yourself if you are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Monitor their media exposure- much of the news on TV is intended for an adult audience and can be overwhelming and scary for a younger viewer.
If your child has a pre-existing mental health condition, please continue their treatment and watch for new or worsening symptoms. If you notice anything changing with your child, contact their healthcare or mental health provider. Oakland Community Health Network has a crisis hotline open 24/7: 800-231-1127.
My daycare is closed, and I need help finding childcare.
To ensure safe spaces for your child when you return to work, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has created a document for childcare providers called Guidelines for Safe Childcare Operations During COVID-19. Families can review these guidelines and ask their childcare provider what they are doing to respond to COVID-19.
If you need help finding childcare, you can contact Great Start to Quality, which is available for any family in Michigan to help find quality and affordable childcare. Call the local resource center at 877-614-7328 to help start your search.
Can I set up a playdate for my child?
It is The CDC recognizes this pandemic has been stressful to many and that socializing and interacting with peers can be a healthy way for children to cope with stress and connect with others. However, the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit close contact as much as possible. It's important to understand the potential risks and measures that can be taken to protect yourself and your family.
The ore people children interact with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. While children may be spending time with others as they return to daycare or school settings, it is important to remember that exposure to additional children and adults outside of daycare or school should be managed to decreaese risk.
For playdates, the risk of COVID-19 increases as follows:
- Lowest risk: No in-person playdates. Children connect virtually (via phone calls and video chats)
- Medium risk: Infrequent playdates with the same family or friend who is also practicing everyday preventative measures. Children mantain a distance of 6 feet from each other during the playdate. Playdates should be held outdoors, if possible. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor space because it can be harder to keep children apart and there is less ventilation.
- Highest risk: Frequent indoor playdates with multiple friends or families who are not practicing everyday preventative measures. Children do not maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other.
To help children maintain social connections while social distancing, help your children have supervised phone calls or video chats with their friends.
Make sure children practice everyday preventative behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important if you have been in a public place.
As travel increases so does you or your family's chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
How does COVID-19 affect children?
There is much we still need to learn about how COVID-19 affects children. While some children and infants been sick with COVID-19, most illnesses have been among adults. Some reports suggest that infants under 1 year old and those with
underlying medical conditions might be higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 than other children.
Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported in some children. Children with certain
underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, or weak immune systems, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Call your child's healthcare provider if you are worried about your child's health or if you child has symptoms of COVID-19. In case of emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency department. Do NOT delay getting emergency care for your child because of COVID-19.
Should I continue well visits and routine vaccine visits for my child during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Routine well child visits and vaccine visits are still important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newborn visits: Ideally, newborn visits should be done in-person so that your pediatric healthcare provider can check your baby's growth and feeding, check for jaundice, complete newborn screening tests, and get any repeat or follow-up testing, if necessary.
Well child visits: Your pediatric healthcare provider will check your child's development at well child visits.
Vaccine visits: Vaccines are an important part of keeping your child healthy, especially if your child is under 2 years old. Vaccines help provide immunity before being exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases such as measles, influenza (flu) and pertussis (whooping cough). This will help prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases among your children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ask your healthcare provider how they are taking steps to separate healthy patients from those who may be sick. Some healthcare providers may choose to delay visits like well child checks and routine vaccine visits.