This fact sheet, created by Public Health Ontario, provides advice to parents and caregivers of children who need to self-isolate at home. This may include a child who has COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has a known exposure to COVID-19. Some measures may not be possible or practical for all families. View this document as a PDF.

Support the well-being of the child

Each child and family situation is different, but there are many ways parents and caregivers can support the physical and mental health and well-being of the child. Ways to support the child who needs to self-isolate include:

  • A parent or caregiver should continue to provide ongoing support and care for the child, including supervision to keep younger children safe in the home.
  • Provide hugs and cuddles, but avoid direct contact with saliva or body fluids (e.g., avoid kisses).
  • Talk to the child about any questions, worries or fears they may have.
  • Find activities the child enjoys and is able to do independently, if they are able (e.g., crafts, puzzles, connect with family and friends online).
  • Spend more time in a private outdoor space at home, if available (e.g., backyard or balcony).

Who should care for the child

  • People who are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (e.g., older adults, people with some chronic health issues) should avoid caring for the child if another caregiver is available.
  • Having one parent or caregiver care for the child, if practical, can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread to other household members.

If the child has COVID-19, the local public health unit will decide how long household members need to self-isolate. This may be for additional time after the child’s last day of self-isolation (e.g., for caregivers of the child with COVID-19).

Wear masks

  • Masks should be well-fitted and cover the nose and mouth.
  • Children must be at least 2 years old to wear a mask, and able to remove it.
  • Give the child mask breaks where 2 metres distance from others can be maintained, if possible.
  • Others in the same room should also wear a mask.
  • Masks do not need to be worn when sleeping.
  • If the child has COVID-19, the caregiver can wear a mask and eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles).

Other ways to reduce risk of spread

  • Clean hands and regularly touched items often (e.g., toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs).
  • The child who is self-isolating and their caregiver should limit contact with other household members as much as possible. This is particularly important if the child has COVID-19.
  • If possible, have separate meal times, and use a separate sleep, play area, and bathroom.
  • If more than one person in the home has COVID-19, they can isolate together.
  • In shared sleeping spaces, keep beds or mattresses at least 2 metres apart.
  • Ensure rooms the child is using have good airflow (e.g., open windows if weather permits and if safe to do so).
  • Limit sharing common household items and clean and disinfect between use.

For more information

Contact Region of Waterloo Public Health or call 2-1-1

For resources on supporting children and families during COVID-19, see:

Learn about the virus

To learn more and access up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website: