Even if you’ve kept your toddler away from news about COVID-19 in the media or from overhearing adult conversations, they are bound to have questions. Here are some age-appropriate responses to the common questions a toddler might have. Most importantly, remember to keep your answers simple and age-appropriate.

  • Why can’t I play with that little boy over there? “We have to take a break from playing with others so we can all stay healthy.”
  • Why can’t I have a turn with that toy? “We can’t play with other children’s toys right now, so we can all stay healthy.”
  • Why are we wiping down everything with wipes? “We wipe things down to keep them clean.” You don’t need to explain more than this—young children don’t understand germs or infection transmission yet.
  • Why is that person wearing a mask? “Sometimes people wear masks when they aren’t feeling well. When they are all better, they stop wearing the mask.”
  • Is the mask a costume? “No, sometimes people wear masks when they are sick. The mask just means they are not feeling well.”
  • Will I get sick? “Everybody gets sick sometimes. If you get sick, Mama/Dada will take care of you until you are all better. The doctors will help you, too.”
  • Why won’t Grandpa (or other loved one) kiss or hug me? Reassure your child that their loved one still loves and cares about them very much. Then you can explain: “When a grown-up has a cold, they can keep others from getting sick by not hugging or kissing for a while. When they feel better and are healthy again, the first thing they’ll do is give you a big kiss!”
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