Looking for ways to help your kids cope during COVID-19? Check out this list of resources and listen to the recording below for some simple steps to keep everyone happy and healthy during this time.
How to help kids cope during COVID-19
para el video en español haga clic aqui.
Step 1: Keep yourself calm.
An upset parent can’t help calm her kids.
Remember we have been through natural disasters and pandemics before. Not exactly like this one, but similar. We will make it through this too. The CDC offers some great tips to help kids during times of trauma.
Find what kind of activities help you calm down and relieve stress. Here are some ideas:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Get enough sleep.
- Do activities you enjoy.
- Parent with grace.
- Stay connected with others: video calls, write letters or emails
- Get help if needed!
- The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990 or TalkWithUs to 66746
- Spanish 1-800-985-5990 selecciona 2 or text Hablanos to 66746
Step 2: Talk About It
I know it feels counter-intuitive to have this conversation, especially with little kids. Our first instinct is to want to protect our kiddos. However, if we don’t explain what is going on, they will make up their own stories.
Even babies can sense stress and anxiety from their caregivers. They already know something is up. They need your help to connect the dots.
Resources for helps kids cope during COVID-19:
- Childmind offers some great guidelines for your conversation.
- Conscious Discipline has a wonderful social story available in 18 languages about why kids can’t go to school right now. This is great for preschool and early elementary.
- PBS has amazing resources about explaining COVID-19 and videos that teach about staying well, hand washing, and illness.
- Zero to Three offers a list of simple answers for all of your toddler’s questions.
- Heartmind has a beautiful, simple comic that explains COVID-19 in 25 different languages
- For older elementary and up, NPR created an very informative comic for kids about COVID-19.
Be sure to listen to your child’s questions and concerns and reassure him or her. Keep the conversation open. As the situation changes, give your child age-appropriate updates and new information.
Step 3: Create a new normal
Instead of trying to guess when it will be over, create a new normal for your kids.
- Have a simple routine. Here is what our schedule looks like but we use it as more of a checklist than anything. Even if you just get up and go to be around the same time, that helps keep some semblance of normalcy.
- Show them how they are helping. (By washing your hands, keeping distance from others, and eating healthy foods you are helping others stay healthy too!)
- Give them opportunities to help around the house.
- Parent with grace- we’ve all got an extra dose of anxiety and stress running through our veins.
- Help them learn to manage emotions more effectively.
- Focus on connection and fun. Learning will happen through play!
- Connect with others-virtually.
With these three simple steps you are already helping your kids cope during COVID-19. If you take nothing else away from this post, focus on having fun and making memories. That is the key to making this just a memory instead of a traumatic imprint in your child’s mind.
This is just for a time. Try to make the best of it and your child will do the same.