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Covid-19 Testing - Advice for Parents


What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via or by calling 119. 

Whilst your child (or any other member of your household) waits for results of a COVID test, the whole house should isolate.


If your child tests positive - All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’. Further information is available at:


The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.


If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.


If you are able to, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period, this will help to protect them from contracting the virus.



The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)


For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the website at If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at or by phoning 111.


How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards


Further information is available at

Preparing your child to do the test

Make sure you or a family member read the instructions carefully before starting.

It is important to stay calm and positive throughout the testing process.  Take your time and try not to let any anxiety you are feeling show, even very young children are able to pick up on how we are feeling. Breathe deeply and slowly and keep your voice calm and low.

If there is another grown up in your home get them to help – your child might want to sit on their lap or hold their hand. If there is no other adult remind yourself that you can do this.

Be honest with your child, you may want to tell them:

  • It may feel scratchy and uncomfortable but it won’t take long.
  • It is to check if they have the virus - make sure they get the right care and make sure the virus doesn’t get passed around.
  • You will need to take a wipe of their throat and up their nose with a big cotton bud to see if there are virus germs there.
  • It is very quick. First they will open their mouth wide – say ‘ahhhh’ and you will wipe the swab at the back of the throat. It might make them cough. Then you will put the same swab just inside each nostril, this might tickle. Then it will be all done.

Supporting your child

  • Tell your child the swabbing will be quick and needs to be done. Let them choose a teddy to squeeze. If your child is young, the teddy could have a pretend swab first (don’t use the real swab!).
  • Help them slow down their breathing, count to ten, play some music they like or sing a song. Talk to them about a nice thing you will do together later.
  • Get them to concentrate on making the loudest ‘ahhhhh’ noise possible. Show them how you can make this noise too as this may make them laugh and put them at ease.
  • If they are crying loudly you might decide you can quickly do the swabs so that it is done.
  • If they won’t open their mouth – come back to it a short while later. Do something relaxing together and then try again.
  • Comfort them with the kind and gentle way you talk and perhaps offer soothing touch like stroking their arm or giving them a hug.
  • Don’t get into a battle but keep reassuring, be confident and gently assertive that it needs to be done without being forceful as this could be frightening for them.

The key is calm parent, calm child.