Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19

By: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

At this time, information about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving as new details are confirmed and new questions emerge. In the event of an outbreak in your community, as a parent/caregiver, your first concern is about how to protect and take care of your children and family. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties. This resource will help you think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect your family - both physically and emotionally - and what you can do to help your family cope.  

What You Should Know

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus; this means it is a new strain that has not been previ­ously identified in humans.
  • COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is mainly spread person-to-person. Currently, there is no available vaccine or curative treatment, so the best preventative strategy is to avoid exposure.
  • So far, children appear to be much less affected by COVID-19, which was also seen after other coronavirus
  • Children with pre-existing illnesses may have different risk, so you should discuss this with your child’s med­ical team.
  • To reduce the spread of the virus, a variety of approaches will be used, including keeping those who are sick away from others and promoting healthy hygiene strategies. Additional recommendations for ways to contain the virus’s spread could include canceling of events that attract large numbers of people; closing schools, public transit or businesses; and required quarantine, which is the separation and restriction of movement of people who might have been exposed to the virus. 

Continue reading by visiting the NCTSN fact sheet (also available in other languages).