While the pandemic has been stressful for everyone, children are perhaps the most affected. With the change in routine, disruption, and not being able to see everyone they love, it already creates an unsettled feeling. When your child needs to take a COVID test, this can add to their already high level of fear.

So, what can you do to keep them calm? These tips will help you make testing go more smoothly for you and your child. 

– Tell them what makes COVID different

One of the biggest challenges is telling your child why they need to get tested for COVID. Some may need the test to participate in certain programs or travel, while others may not be feeling well. Tell your child how this virus can give people very different symptoms like a fever and a cough while others may not have any symptoms at all. The only way to know is to take the test and be sure.

– Give details about what they’ll see

For some children, they may become afraid when they see healthcare providers covered head-to-toe in protective gear. This will include gloves on their hands, masks over their mouths, and a clear, plastic face shield. You can show your child how they can spot a smile behind all that gear by watching the corners of the eyes turn up. Let them know not to be afraid and that the extra gear is to help keep them protected.

– Explain what happens during the test

Children become less anxious and afraid when they know what to expect. COVID testing has gotten more efficient, and while it looks painful, it only tickles slightly during the process. Tell your child the nurse will use a skinny cotton swab rubbed on the inside of their nose to get a sample. Let them know it will only tickle for a moment, and they need to hold still so the test can be finished quickly. 

– Know how to provide comfort

There isn’t a child anywhere that enjoys a doctor’s office trip, especially if they don’t feel well. You can help your child by reassuring them you’ll be with them the whole time. Have them bring a favorite stuffed animal, fidget, or another item of comfort, and let them know you’ll hold their hand too. 

You can also teach your child how to using deep breaths and counting to help them stay calm. Music is another way to keep your child feeling comfortable and secure during the testing process.

What comes next?

Once the test is complete, all that’s left is to await results. Your child will likely need to stay home until then, so keep them hydrated and nourished while giving plenty of TLC to soothe them no matter what the results have in store!