Talking with Students about COVID-19

Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety (for you, students, or parents)

If you or anyone you know is starting to get stressed out or anxious, here are some things you can try that should help:


  1. Try deep breathing, relaxation, or mindfulness exercises. 

  • Here are three different YouTube videos for adults: 1, 2, 3

  • Here are two different YouTube videos for children: 1, 2, 3

  • You can also try Headspace (on your phone or laptop)

  1. Change negative self-talk to be more positive. 

  • For adults, I recommend reading this article and watching this video.

  • For children, I recommend the adults in their life advocating a growth mindset and modeling positive talk.

  1. Get enough sleep

  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Avoid cell phones or TV before bed, try to go to bed at the same time each night, make sure the room is dark and quiet enough, and practice your breathing or mindfulness exercises if your thoughts are too “loud” to sleep.

  1. Exercise regularly. 

  • There are free exercise videos on YouTube or Go Noodle for adults and kids.

  1. Eat healthy and drink enough water

  2. Have social contact with others, even if you can’t see them in person. You can call, video conference, or connect online. 


Talking about COVID-19 With Students

As you begin interacting with your students, they may have questions for you about COVID-19. Here are some tips to keep in mind when discussing the virus with students:


Make yourself available to students.

  • Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions or concerns.

Remain calm and reassuring.

  • Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. 

Provide information that is honest and accurate.

  • Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for their age and developmental level. Examples of what you could say are included below.

  • Talk to children about how some stories on the Internet may be based on inaccurate information. 

  • Feel free to share this video from BrainPOP with students.

Pay attention to what students are hearing

  • Consider asking parents to reduce their screen time if they are focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

  • These include coughing/sneezing into their elbow, handwashing, keeping their hands out of their mouth/eyes/nose, and staying home if they feel sick.


Examples of Child-Friendly Language you can use about COVID-19:


What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.

  • Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.

  • Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading is staying home.

What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?

  • You can practice healthy habits at home to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:

    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.

    • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.

    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

    • If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.

What happens if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems. From what doctors have seen so far, most children don’t seem to get very sick. While a lot of adults get sick, most adults get better.

  • If you do get sick, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. People can get sick from all kinds of germs. What’s important to remember is that if you do get sick, the adults at home and school will help get you any help that you need.

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