New video, website explain coronavirus for kids

Andria Eisman

Andria Eisman

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting everyone, including children. And the complexity of this situation is especially difficult for little ones to understand.

With that in mind, the University of Michigan School of Public Health has created a video to provide scientifically accurate information in an engaging and understandable way that aims to get children and their families talking constructively about the coronavirus and the way it has impacted their lives.

"Packaging evidence-based information about the pandemic in a digestible way and delivering it directly to educators and

education systems will benefit children, their teachers and their families,” said Andria Eisman, a research assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health who studies how evidence-based health programs are most effectively integrated in school settings. "These brief resources focus on age-appropriate content, knowledge about the virus, and how to prevent its spread to empower kids and inspire them to act with their own agency.”

The video is intended for children between the ages of 6 and 11. It shares what we currently know about the coronavirus and suggests proven public health methods for personal and community protection.

Narrated by a child, the short, upbeat video is intended to keep children engaged. The companion family guide supports parents and other family members in learning more about the coronavirus themselves and deciding how to discuss the pandemic with the children in their family.

"Everyone is aware that life is different now, but children face unique challenges in managing how they respond,” said Alison

Miller, a developmental psychologist and associate professor of health behavior and health education at the School of Public Health. "Knowing more about the reason for these changes-the virus itself-can empower them to be able to articulate their own answer to why things are so different.

This video is scientifically accurate while taking into account not only a child’s intellectual curiosity but also their emotional needs as they approach a difficult and increasingly personal subject matter.”

The video and family guide also lead to a new webpage for kids and families, where parents and other family members can find additional resources for understanding the science behind the outbreak and our response.

The School of Public Health is sharing the resources with educators, education leaders, and school health coordinators across the state of Michigan and the U.S., as well as with parents and families through social media and other channels. The video and the family guide will be offered in multiple languages, including Spanish, Chinese, French and Arabic.


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