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Expert Advice

How to support kids during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in profound and unprecedented ways. Most if not all of us are worried about someone we love—whether it’s a relative, a friend, or our community as a whole.

In the face of this crisis, it’s important to remember that even the smallest acts of care can make a difference. We’ve compiled the tips and resources below to help you find simple, concrete ways to take action.

COVID-19 has brought profound and sudden changes to kids’ lives. They’re isolated from friends and missing their normal routines. Many have family members who have lost jobs or become seriously ill. It’s a scary and confusing time.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help kids feel safe. Start by giving them extra affection and reminding them of how much you love them. You may also want to limit their exposure to the news, and be thoughtful about when and how you discuss the situation and your own feelings.

Video and phone calls can be great resources for kids who are feeling lonely. Arrange virtual play dates with friends and family members, and equip younger kids with conversation starters and mental games (like Twenty Questions) to make these interactions as fun and natural as possible.

If you’re not sure what a child needs, start by just asking questions and listening. Find out what they already know about the virus and its impact, and correct misinformation with age-appropriate facts. Assure them that the adults in their lives are working hard to keep everyone healthy. Finally, help them feel in control by explaining the concrete steps they can take to protect themselves and others, such as washing their hands, covering coughs, and practicing physical distancing.

Here are some additional resources to help you support kids:

  • Parenting in the Time of COVID-19 (World Health Organization): These six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behavior, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19.
  • How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus (PBS Kids for Parents): Advice on reassuring anxious kids, arming them with accurate, age-appropriate information, and empowering them to protect themselves and your community.
  • 29 Fun Questions for Your Next Family Dinner (Red Tricycle): Pick one of these questions to engage kids at the dinner table or spark conversation on a video call.
  • Ways to Donate (Blessings in a Backpack): This organization provides weekend meals for kids who receive free school lunches.