Talking to Your Child About Pandemic Flu


Children are happiest when they can continue in the routines that make them feel comfortable and safe. By staying informed and teaching sensible precautions, you can keep life as normal as possible and help your child feel more secure in the face of the threat of a pandemic.

What to Say

Find out what they know.

As the threat of a flu pandemic gains public attention, it is likely that children will hear something about it on television or from a friend. Ask your child to tell you what he or she knows about the topic. Having your child tell you about the flu pandemic, rather than you telling him or her about it, lets you know what misconceptions or misunderstandings he or she may have.

Explain the facts.

Pandemic Defined

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. The disease spreads easily from person to person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time.

Flu Terms Defined

Talk about hygiene.

Having a discussion about flu provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce good hygiene practices, as they will not only help protect the child during a flu pandemic, but will also keep him or her healthier in general.

Make a Plan

In a pandemic flu situation, you and your child’s routines may be interrupted. You may even find that authorities advise you to stay in your home to prevent the spread of the illness. Think about what you will need in the event that this occurs and make a plan for your family so that you are prepared. Stock up on food, water, and medications. Experts recommend that you have at least three days worth of supplies in your home in case of emergency. Also have games, activities, and ways that they can communicate with friends (like over email) ready for your children to make the time spent confined at home less stressful.

Of course, should the level of infection risk rise, greater caution will be warranted.

Stay informed of recent developments.

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