Helping Children Understand COVID-19

Because of the CoronavirusA pandemic is scary for everyone, but especially for young children who don’t understand why they can’t play with their friends or visit their grandparents. Deborah Rotenstein, MD, a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist, believes that part of a pediatrician’s role is to help patients feel safe and cared for. To that end, she has written a book to explain the coronavirus to preschoolers.

Before the pandemic, Dr. Rotenstein had planned to travel to Israel to visit her granddaughter, then 3½ years old, to celebrate both Passover and the birth of the child’s sister. She wrote the book to explain to her granddaughter why she could not visit.

“The virus is a hard concept for children to understand, and children need reassurance,” she says. “They deserve to understand as much as they can about it.”

Dr. Rotenstein uses the book in her practice at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA, and encourages parents and pediatricians to use it as a “jumping off point” for conversations about the virus with their children.

The book can be downloaded from the “Because of the Coronavirus” Facebook page at facebook.com/BecauseoftheCoronavirusBook. Dr. Rotenstein also is featured on the ABP blog, narrating her book.