Helping your Child Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic
Looking for ways to help your child cope with the COVID-19 pandemic? Few of us have lived through a situation like this before and it is difficult to know the best practices to follow. Many of us are figuring out our own ways of coping and making it up as we go along.
Following a routine, exercising, communicating virtually with friends and family and practicing some form of mindfulness are all strategies that many families are using to cope during this stressful time. Here are some tips and resources that may be helpful as we all figure out how to handle this crisis together.
Routines are great because they can:
- Create a sense of comfort for your child
- Let your child know what to expect from day to day
- Provide a sense of normalcy
Try to set up a routine that works for your family and treat it as a useful guideline. There will be days when it doesn’t work out as planned and that’s okay!
Many of us have the added challenge of working from home, or out in the community, while we care for our children. We need to be gentle with ourselves and with our kids! A schedule can be as detailed or as lax as you feel necessary.
Some suggestions for what to include in your child's routine:
- Story time
It's also a great idea to include blocks of free time for your child to choose and explore their own interests.
Homework and Learning
Depending on a child's age, their teacher and their school, learning from home can look very different. If you're looking for educational resources for your child or homework help, there's a lot to choose from. Science experiments, creative writing and reading are simple ways to keep your child learning whether they are following a curriculum or not.
Overdrive ebooks and digital audiobooks for kids are great for helping you support your child's learning. Need more assistance with homework time? Don't understand the math your child's teacher assigned? Try Brainfuse for online homework help and curriculum support. Brainfuse offers live help for students in grades K-12 daily from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm. It also includes practice tests, support for adult learners, writing assistance, skills building and more.
Here are some related ebooks to get you started.
My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman pictures by Jim Paillot
From Dan Gutman, the author of the My Weird School series, this is a book about writing that your kids will want to read. Your children will learn about how to write while laughing aloud. Why not have fun while learning?
Little Learning Labs: Kitchen Science for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
Learn science hands-on with 26 experiments you can conduct in your kitchen using simple ingredients.
Staying active is a big challenge right now, especially if you don't have a backyard or play area. Kids are used to being able to run around and play, and being stuck inside has some of them bouncing off the walls and others turning into couch potatoes. Working exercise into your daily routine can make a big difference to your child's mental health and behaviour.
Check out Hoopla and Overdrive for online books and videos to get you moving. Short on space? Some of the videos and books available are aimed with small spaces in mind, and require no additional equipment.
For some children, organized exercise just won't work and instead encouraging physical play or dance can be just as effective. Did you know that there is free music available through Naxos music library and Hoopla? Time to have a dance party!
Get moving with these videos and songs!
Yoga for Kids: Outer Space Blastoff featuring Jodi B. Komitor
Learn some easy yoga poses through this fun video for kids ages 5 and up featuring Kids' yoga instructor Jodi Komitor. The outer space theme engages kids imaginations as they move through each pose.
Fitness 4 Kids Cardio Workout featuring Jalen Jones
A high energy workout designed for kids and starring kids. No equipment is necessary and it can be done in a small space.
The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band available through Hoopla
A story time favourite for toddlers and preschool. Laurie Berkner gets the kids up and moving. Try out We Are the Dinosaurs and the Goldfish for high energy fun!
Mindfulness can be a powerful coping strategy for both children and adults to combat stress, anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Studies have also shown that mindfulness increases resiliency. Resilient people are better able to deal with difficult emotions and bounce back quicker from disappointment.
There are numerous resources available that you can use with your children to learn about and practice mindfulness techniques. Here are just a few suggestions from our online collections.
See, Hear, Feel by Emmanuelle Giumelli Illustrated by Mathilde Gatinois
A beautiful picture book that provides an introduction to mindfulness aimed at young children. Told with calm, simple text it follows Charlie throughout the day as he takes the time to notice what he sees, hears and feels. The book includes a description of mindfulness exercises that parents can use to guide their children.
Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness and More by Mallika Chopra Illustrated by Brenna Vaughan
A good book for older children that introduces the practice of Meditation and Mindfulness in an easy to digest manner. Full of specific exercises to help with daily challenges and tips on how to be healthier, happier, and more connected.
For more ways you can use the library from home, check out these posts:
- 9 Ways to use the Library from Home (TPL Kids)
- 38 Ways to use the Library from Home
- Ready for Reading Story Time at Home!
Looking for ways to talk to your children about COVID-19? Check out these resources:
- How to Talk to your Anxious Child about COVID-19, Children's Mental Health Ontario (CMHO)
- Talking to Children about COVID-19 and its Impact (PDF), The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
- Talking to your Kids about COVID-19, Anxiety Canada
Updated on April 29, 2020 to add:
- My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19!
A free story book aimed primarily at children 6 to 11 years old, produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Available in more than 30 different languages.
- Spike & Toody
An animated series of short videos aimed at children 3 to 7 years old. The first episode is called "I Need My Safety Space!" and explains physical distancing in a humourous, kid-friendly context.
- List of COVID-19 ebooks curated by the New York City School Library System
A collection of free ebooks in multiple languages.
Updated on February 5, 2021 to add:
- Roots of Empathy
Video series for parents and educators, on topics such as school anxiety and resilience. Available in 19 different languages, including seven Indigenous languages.