How to prepare kids for COVID-19 testing

Published August 23, 2021, 12:03 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

(Photo from Unsplash)

With the increasing number of children getting infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), testing has never been more crucial at a time of a pandemic.

“Testing is one of our best weapons against this virus, without testing we will be in the dark,” said Philippine Red Cross Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon.


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Since the public health emergency broke out, the PRC has been at the frontline of the war against the pandemic and has been strongly urging individuals with mild symptoms to get tested for COVID-19.

“Kailangan nang magpa-test tayo kung may nararamdaman tayo o tayo ay close contact ng isang taong nag positive (We need to test if we are feeling something or we are in close contact with someone who is positive),” he said. “Kasama na dito ang kabataan, kailangan natin silang ingatan (This includes the youth, we need to take care of them),” he added.


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Stress-free ways to get kids tested

PRC said that individuals who are also close or casual contacts of a known COVID-positive patient are also urged to get tested — including children.

Having young children tested for COVID-19, may be “very stressful,” PRC said.

However, the country’s foremost humanitarian organization noted that with a bit of preparation, role-play, and modeling the type of behavior, “we can make the testing as stress-free and simple as possible.”

Overall, PRC said that having a respectful approach to children when having them tested for COVID-19 is the key.

To make COVID-19 testing for kids be more manageable, PRC also shared some tips for parents and guardians:

1. Talk to your child. Start the conversation on COVID-19 testing, now.

PRC noted that even if the child does not need to be tested, starting the conversation on the need for testing — which might happen in the future — will be a great help for you and your child to understand the situation.

“It is necessary to let your child know that COVID testing is one way of ensuring sick people are taken care of and helps to stop them spreading the virus to other people,” PRC said.

2. Preparation is the key.

PRC explained that knowing what will happen is “important to children so they can feel in control and be empowered” in situations like getting tested for COVID-19.

“Be open to your child by encouraging them to ask questions and answering them with honesty,” PRC tells parents and guardians.

Significant adults, PRC added, need to inform the child that the “actual test may feel uncomfortable” but the discomfort will be only temporary.

“Depending on the age of your child, prepare through role-playing also known as therapeutic play,” PRC said. “This preparation type helps children feel comfortable and less anxious before any medical procedure,” it added.

(Photo from Unsplash)

3. Stay calm and confident during the actual test.

PRC said that children are good when it comes to picking up on cues from their parents.

Given this, PRC stressed that staying calm and confident when taking to the child for testing help him or her to calm down.

“If you are also being tested, they may like to see you go first,” PRC told the adults. “It is okay to ask the tester to talk through what they are doing,” it added.

PRC underscored that being there, fully present, with the child during the procedure will help a lot. “Put your phone away,” PRC said. “Humor can help keep things light-hearted and it reduces stress levels,” it added.


COVID-19 and children