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Talking with children and young people: advice for carers

You are one of the most important people in a child’s life and hearing reassuring information from you will help. Stay up to date on official health advice from NSW Health.

What to talk about

  • what the virus is and what the symptoms are
  • handwashing, including counting to 20 or singing happy birthday twice
  • coughing and sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
  • what social distancing means and why we are doing it
  • changes to your household routines, school and other aspects of their life
  • reassure them about your love and support
  • feelings about their birth family and how they can keep in contact during this time.
  • how support from their caseworker will change.

How to talk about it

Use simple words and descriptions.

Be conscious of words that could cause fear such as isolation.

Explain ‘social distancing’ simply.

Demonstrate hand washing.

Give them translated information if needed.

Repeat information regularly.

Use posters, handouts and videos if it suits them.

Ask about their worries, be reassuring and warm

Children in care are likely to have extra worries.

This might include:

  • Their stability with you
  • Siblings and how they support each other
  • Birth parents
  • Community members, elders and friends.

Access helpful resources

  • UNICEF has practical tips about how to talk to children about the virus.
  • Behind the News on the ABC has some helpful videos that talk about the virus, hand washing and answers children’s questions.
  • The Australian Childhood Foundation has advice about how parents and carers can emotionally support children during the pandemic.
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Last updated: 24 Apr 2020