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How to Explain the New Coronavirus to Young Children

Child and Adolescent Studies Expert Writes Story to Address COVID-19
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As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, parents, family members and educators play a crucial role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate and minimizes anxiety.

To assist with explaining the coronavirus pandemic to children ages 3-8, Shu-Chen Jenny Yen, a Cal State Fullerton associate professor of child and adolescent studies, has authored a story, “Something Strange Happened in My City.”

Illustrated through a conversation between a parent and child, the story discusses the uncertainties and dangers associated with the virus, ways to minimize the risks, and how children can help through acts of kindness.

“This can be a scary time for children and they may not understand why they need to stay indoors, or what is going on in the world,” says Yen. “It is extremely hard for children to understand why social distancing is happening, and why they can’t play with their friends anymore.”

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