Supporting Children and Families during the COVID-19 PandemicUpdated July 6, 2020, 8:28 AM
We will continue to update this page with the latest information on talking to children and families about Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Guidance, Toolkits and Handouts
As face masks become part of the arsenal against the spread of COVID-19, parents can use these resources to help children feel more comfortable.
These scripted stories from NCPMI, with their colorful and fun photographs of children and families, help explain to children the how, why, and when of wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also available in Spanish.
These tips and ideas help children identify emotions when faces, the most expressive feature, is covered by a mask. Parents can use these strategies to let children know that behind the mask, a kind and warm expression is still there!
A Parent's Guide: Helping Your Child Wear a Mask (The Boggs Center)
Part of a series developed by the Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers, these documents explain the need for face masks and how to lessen children's mask anxiety when seeing others in masks and when wearing masks themselves.
Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Healthy Children)
The American Academy of Pediatrics tackles the question: "How do we care for our children while working and schooling at home, and not panic during this unprecedented outbreak?" The tips offered, such as keeping to a daily routine and schedule and ensuring that increased screen time is positive and helpful, will help families cope with this "new normal" until the virus is under control.
Children need factual, age appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk and concrete instruction about how to avoid infections and spread of disease. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Families Together, Inc.)
Families Together, Inc. provides ways to help families navigate the COVID-19 crisis when their child/youth has a disability. The site provides links to social stories and visuals, articles and videos that help explain COVID-19. Also included are links to disability specific resources ranging from anxiety to visual impairment.
COVID-19 (TRANSFORM Research Center)
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an extraordinary impact on families across the United States. It is important to protect children and support healthy youth development in this time of crisis. The TRANSFORM Research Center has compiled several resources relevant to parents, practitioners and professionals who work with youth.
To help children cope with the changes resulting from COVID-19, families can have a conversation about what is happening, and teach children how to handle this situation. Social stories can be a useful tool for families to help young children navigate this difficult situation. This page provides a list of social story resources that are focused on COVID-19, followed by a list of resources that can help families teach children how to calm down.
With the increasing prevalence of Coronavirus, caregivers might be feeling challenged by the change in routines, the need for social distancing, or fear and anxiety. Children might also be feeling this way, too. The following tips offer some guidance for caregivers supporting children at this time.
Why Can't I Go To School? (NCPMI)
This scripted story is a resource families can use to talk with and support their child during the pandemic.
What Comes Next: Back to Child Care Following Shelter-in-Place (ZERO to THREE)
As communities begin to re-open, families will be facing a major transition for their families–heading back to child care. This article provides helpful tips for managing the preschool transition post-COVID.
Mindfulness Practices for Families (ZERO to THREE)
When parents and children are feeling big emotions, such as those that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the simple mindfulness activities in this article can help. These exercises are designed to help both parent and child experience a sense of calm connection.
Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (NCTSN)
This flyer can help parents and caregivers think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect them- both physically and emotionally- and what they can do to help children cope.
Resources for Supporting Children's Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Child Trends)
This guidance, recommendations, and resources are provided by child trauma experts at Child Trends and the Child Trauma Training Center at the University of Massachusetts, with funding from SAMHSA and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and additional support from HRSA.
Resources to help Families during COVID-19 (Fred Rogers Productions)
Fred Rogers Productions offers a compilation of virtual events, activities, and other social initiatives for children and families to use during the COVID-19 crisis. They are also sharing one activity, craft or recipe each day on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (NAFSCE)
NAFSCE has assembled a collection of learning resources, free or reduced cost services, and information sources related to engaging families.
This series of modules from Dr. Kevin Plummer provides guidelines to help parents support their children while they are home from school.
Supporting Families During COVID-19 (Child Mind Institute)
Stress during this pandemic is like no other stress we've experienced before, which is why large numbers of educators and service providers are breaking down and experiencing uncontrolled stress responses. This toolkit gives specific instruction to support individuals to interrupt the stress response and reset their brains and bodies.
Tips for Families: Coronavirus (ZERO TO THREE)
Zero to Three offers tips for families including age appropriate responses to common questions, a guide to self-care, and activities for young children experiencing social distancing.
Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak (SAMHSA)
This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care or your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help.
As concern increases over the spread of the coronavirus, families might be feeling vulnerable, concerned, or anxious. This document includes suggestions and resources to help families take care of themselves so they can support their children.
Resources in Additional Languages
These include national and international resources for early childhood professionals and families. Some resources are provided in multiple languages.