To all the parents who need to hear this, you are doing great! This is an unprecedented time full of uncertainty. No one knows exactly what to do, not even the leaders of the world. We are all figuring it out together. Try your best not to stress about things like screen time or how much junk food your kids are eating. Try not to put added pressure on yourself to become a world class teacher while we continue to distance ourselves from schools. Do what is needed to feel relatively well and connected as a family right now.
And if your child is feeling confused, scared, lonely, anxious or sad the following tips are designed to help you help your children feel better during this pandemic.
Do your best to:
• Normalize what they are feeling: Let them know that it is okay to be scared, worried or stressed
• Educate them about COVID-19: Be honest about what the virus is and how it is contracted. Think about watching an age appropriate youtube video on how this works. Here is one from an episode of Bubble Guppies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaD_NJV027E and this episode of Netflix’s StoryBots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ECPrtjnoCg&t=511s
• Clearly explain what you are doing differently to keep them and yourselves safe: This will help them understand why you are not allowed to do play dates or kiss grandpa right now.
• Reassure them: Explain to them that kids only get mild symptoms if contracted.
• Answer their questions: Hold family meetings or talk to them one on what and answer any questions they may have related to the illness or why we have to physically distance ourselves.
Additionally things you may want to:
• Limit your children’s social media use: We want to prevent them being overloaded with information about COVID-19. Don’t feel badly about allowing them more screen time, but limit channels with numerous news updates.
• Engage them in activities that can help them feel empowered: Encourage them to support you in donating to a local food bank or kids help phone.
• Help your children become better consumers of health information: For example, if they ask you a question, help them to identify credible online sources of information (Public Health or the CDC) and help them understand the information on these sites.
• Help them understand the importance of physical distancing while supporting them in getting creative in ways they can connect with their friends: They may be upset that they have to stay indoors and that their March break wasn’t what they had hoped. Let them know that by making these sacrifices they are not only keeping themselves safe, but also other people who are not as resilient.
Need more help? The following resources may be helpful
The Parent’s Lifeline of eastern Ontario (PLEO)
parenting helpline 613.321.3211 855.775.7005
Number : 1-800-465-1879
Kids Help Phone: Call a counsellor: 1-800-668-6868
Kids Help Phone text message service: Text CONNECT to 686868
The institute of Child Psychology:
Links to videos to help kids understand germs/COVID 19 and hygiene:
Nickelodeon washes their hands:
Playmobil explains COVID-19:
Free book on COVID-19 for kids: