WATCH — Justin Trudeau answers kids’ questions about the coronavirus

Arjun Ram
Story by Arjun Ram • CBC Kids News • Published 2020-04-05 07:59

As a father himself, Trudeau says he understands the challenges of daily life for kids

It’s pretty much impossible to get through a whole day without hearing the word coronavirus.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives.

And the situation keeps changing.

That’s why the prime minister of Canada took some time this weekend to talk to Canadian kids about the things that are on their minds.

How this came together

Leaders in Canada and around the world are speaking directly to kids, since the pandemic is affecting their every day lives.

Last week, CBC Kids News and Radio-Canada’s MAJ asked kids to send in their questions so we could bring them to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

We were thrilled to receive more than 4,000 submissions and chose 10 questions, which we sent to the prime minister before recording an interview with him.

Check out the video here to see what he said, or keep reading for some highlights.

When will school start again?

Trudeau himself is the father of three kids, so he says he understands the reality of school closures and cancelled activities.

“When we were all off around spring break, they were all like, ‘Yay! No school!’” Trudeau said about his own kids, Xavier, 12, Ella-Grace, 11, and Hadrien, 6.

“But now they’re realizing they want to see their friends,” he said. “Maybe being at school isn’t so bad when compared to having to sit at the kitchen table and do all your work on your own with your parents sometimes helping.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to kids from outside his home in Ottawa on Saturday. (CBC)

Trudeau said he doesn’t know when schools will open again, but emphasized that physical distancing is important to keep the coronavirus from spreading so they can reopen as soon as possible.

“It’s going to take a while still,” he said.

What are you doing to help homeless people?

Because people are being told to stay home, some kids have been wondering what people who don’t have homes should do.

Trudeau outlined some of the things his government is doing to help people who are less fortunate.

Sarah, 6, from Toronto, wanted to know what the prime minister is doing to help homeless people. (Submitted by Nigatua Woldetsadik)

“One of the things we’ve done is given a lot of money to homeless shelters,”  Trudeau said, “to try and make sure that they have room for people who need a home.”

The government is also helping homeless people practise physical distancing by opening more shelters, so they don’t come into contact with others and spread the virus.

What if my parents get sick?

Some kids are worried about what will happen to them if their parents get sick.

“That’s a really, really scary thought,” said Trudeau, whose wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month and has since recovered.

He added the best way to prevent your loved ones from getting sick is to maintain physical distancing and stay inside, but added that there are resources available to help.

Christopher and Giulianna del Cane, from Montreal, are worried about what will happen to them if their parents get sick. (Submitted by Carole Elkhal)

“Canadians have been there for each other. When we get into difficult situations, we lean on each other,” he said. “We’re in one of the best countries in the world and we’re going to make sure no one goes through this alone.”

Dr. Tam said it’s normal to be afraid.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top doctor, spoke to kids from her home in Ottawa. (CBC)

“Make sure your parents know you’re worried,” she said. “Talk to them and make a plan ahead of time …. There are many people that can help you, but make that plan ahead so you know who they may be.”

She also reminded kids to call the Kids Help Phone, if they’re looking for an adult to talk to. 

What song do you sing when you wash your hands?

And finally, on a lighter note, we asked Justin Trudeau what song he sings for 20 seconds when he washes his hands.

“I like singing happy birthday, because I like thinking that it might be my birthday today or any given day,” he said.

Want to hear him sing it? Check out the video at the top of the page!

Do you have more questions about the coronavirus? Check out this video and be sure to tune into our next Instagram Live event with Cathy Egan on Wednesday, April 8, at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

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About the Contributor

Arjun Ram
Arjun Ram
CBC Kids News Contributor
Arjun Ram is a Grade 8 French Immersion student from Hamilton, Ont., with many diverse interests. He loves sports, music and math. You may remember him as one of the 12 contestants showcasing his talents on CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person Junior. Arjun has developed an interest in politics — specifically, its impact on everyday life and how it will shape the future. He hopes to one day work as a news anchor for CBC.

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