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FACTS NOT FEAR: Talking to your kids about the coronavirus

Health experts say it is important to be open and honest about what you and your family will do in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PORTLAND, Maine — It may not seem like top priority right now, but health officials say talking about the Coronavirus with your kids is important.

Gov. Janet Mills announced the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Maine Thursday.

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MaineHealth Dr. Dora Mills told NEWS CENTER Maine it is not too late to start a dialogue within your family. 

"I think It's important to let them know you're acknowledging it," Mills said.

1) Let them drive the conversation.

Just start talking. Dr. Mills recommends asking open-ended questions to get your child engaged. Don't make it a lecture. Ask them what they are hearing, what they know, or if they have any questions for you. Most importantly, be natural.

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2) Encourage good hygiene as a family.

Wash your hands and clean surfaces in your house together. Make it a team effort to prevent any spread of germs. It is okay to have fun with it too and use the 'Happy Birthday' song trick to make sure you are washing your hands long enough. 

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3) Tell them what to expect.

As more and more large events get canceled, people start to stay home from work and schools make preparations, do not hesitate to be open about why this is happening. Tell them what could happen. 

4) Establish a routine. 

With all of these changes, most kids will be thrown off. Reassure them that it is only temporary. You can also establish new routines. For example, pick a fun activity that you do regularly when/if you get stuck at home. It is not about creating a false sense of normalcy. It is more about consistency to make them feel safe.

Click here for all the latest information about the Coronavirus in Maine as it develops.

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