How to talk with your kids about coronavirus

One local health leader said it's important to talk with our kids about those bad things that impact our health, including the coronavirus.

Posted: Apr 8, 2020 8:36 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 3:41 PM

FOUNTAIN WARREN COUNTIES, Ind. (WLFI) - No matter how hard we try, we can't always protect our kids from all the bad things in the world. That's why one local health leader said it's important to talk with our kids about those bad things that impact our health, including the coronavirus.

"Some parents can think it's scary," said Dr. Sean Sharma, Health Officer at the Fountain Warren Health Department. "I think it's eye opening and it's putting kids in touch with their world."

Dr. Sharma also has three young boys. He said he got his camera out after he heard his three young boys talking about coronavirus before bed time.

"I said hey, let me ask you some questions because I was curious what their take was," he said.

"So what is COVID-19?" he asks. "Coronavirus!" they all reply.

"What can you do to protect yourselves from coronavirus?" he asks "Wash your hands! Don't go anywhere!" they say back.

"I was surprised at how well they were able to answer my questions," he said. I didn't do any prep for it at all. Their responses show me that they are aware of what's going on and they are listening."

Which is why he said it's important to have candid conversations with your child about this pandemic. 

Melissa Luebbe from West Lafayette said this disease has completely changed the daily routine of her boys, who are seven and five years old.

"They don't go to school, we can't go see friends, we don't have play dates, they know we can't go to stores and all those things because of the coronavirus," she said.

For her and her husband, it's about setting a good example.

"We are doing our best to be calm and present and to answer any questions they may have, but also not to speak in a fearful way," she said. "But we want to answer in a way that's age appropriate."

Dr. Sharma has a tip for that.

"I encourage parents to answer it as best they can using facts," he said.

One reassuring fact you can tell you kids from the CDC is that children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults.

Another good fact for kids, only 1.6% of all positive cases in Indiana are between the ages of zero and 19, and there have been zero deaths reported in that age group. That's according to the Indiana State Health Department's latest numbers.

Dr. Sharma sat down with his kids and showed them a map so they could see China and Indiana and how far the virus had traveled.

"We took a road trip to Arkansas once and I told them it would take us 10 trips to Arkansas, there and back, to cover the distance between here and China," he said. "It helped put the distance in a way they could understand and relate to."

And there has been no better time to teach the importance of good hygiene habits.

"Wash your hands! Keep away from other people! And if you have it you should stay in your house," said Dr. Sharma's son, Sage, in the video.

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Data is updated nightly.

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COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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