Supporting our Children during COVID-19: A guide for parents, Guardians and Families

We understand how difficult this time might be for children and their families that are supporting them during these challenging times. With schools closed, public spaces shutting down and the general anxiety out there, we have to protect and support our most vulnerable, including our young people.

We are encouraging families to use Possibility Thinking to re-imagine what you thought the next few weeks would look like. To support you, we have gathered and compiled this information for you which we hope will be helpful. Please share with anyone else you believe would find this useful.

The Possibility Room

To create connection and showcase the power of Possibility Thinking, every few weeks, we will be hosting a virtual community gathering called “The Possibility Room” where children, parents, families, volunteers and community leaders will share positive messages of hope and connection. To learn more and to register for the next one, click here.

How to talk to your children about what is going on

You may be wondering what to say to your children and how to talk about this. Perhaps children have been hearing things on the news or from friends, or perhaps they are really not sure what is going on. We want to balance between being transparent and also not creating unnecessary fear. These resources can help you to shape the conversations you have:

How to talk to young children about the Coronavirus by Scholastic Classrooms

Talking to children about COVID-19: A Parent Resource by the National Association of School Psychologists (US)

It is important to keep as much of a sense of normalcy as possible, which includes giving children the chance to learn, have fun, stay active and feel connected.

Keep children learning

With school on pause, we now have the chance to access other resources to keep minds sharp and keep academic momentum going. Education is no less important right now.

The Khan Academy has created an excellent resource of daily learning plans for children from ages 4 to 18 which can help create structure

Scholastic online classrooms are offering 20 free days of learning

If you are looking for more, there are dozens of other websites offering free online learning resources right now

Keep having fun and staying active

Positive quality time is really important right now. Take this chance to do the projects with your children that they have been asking you to do with them for a while. Find creative ways to bond, have fun and create, and to keep both the mind and body busy.

Indoor ideas

Being cooped up together for a few weeks means a chance to try some new things. Children have great imaginations and will likely enjoy the chance to have some unstructured play, creating their own fun, and it’s good to encourage that. But if you’re looking for some ideas for fun things you can do together, here are a few:

  • Read one chapter of a novel together every day
  • Write a story where everyone writes and illustrates one page
  • Have a family meditation circle
  • Have an indoor yoga or aerobics session
  • Dust off your board games and have a tournament
  • Bake something special or cook a meal together
  • Have a dance party to your favourite fun songs
  • Stream a family friendly TV series
  • Do some collaborative art projects together
Outdoor ideas

While outdoor options are limited, the current information says as long as you are keeping a safe distance from other people and crowds, that you are only grouped with people you already live with, and being mindful of the surfaces you are in contact with, that outdoor time is actually good for the immune system and mental well-being:

  • Go outdoors for a walk, jog or run
  • Have a ‘family Olympics’ in the backyard
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go for a hike in the woods
  • Try ‘forest bathing’ where you just sit or lie down amongst trees

Keep connecting with family and friends

While we won’t be seeing many people in person, it’s still important for children and families not to feel isolated. Staying connected with others will support maintaining positive mental health and help children feel like they can still see their friends and family. There are a number of free tools to connect via video such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook. These can be a great way to feel connected to people and see each other face-to-face virtually.

Here is a list of free video apps to use and some ideas for connecting with others:

  • Have an online playdate with a friend
  • Share video messages back and forth with family
  • Organize a ‘virtual party’ with a few friends and parents and take turns telling jokes to each other and enjoy some good laughs
  • Host virtual karaoke where you take turns picking the songs to sing
  • Read books to each other

Keep serving others

Future Possibilities for Kids encourages children to be in service to others in the community. Right now, we are in a time when we must all work together in support of each other, and find ways to help, even if it’s from the comfort of home. Here are some ideas of how you can help:

  • Donate to your favourite organizations because they still need your help right now
  • Promote messages from organizations on the front lines that are offering their services so others know about them
  • Post on social media recognizing a front-line worker who is helping others right now such as a doctor, nurse, healthcare worker, police officer, firefighter, community agency worker or other essential services that are staying open right now to benefit the community
  • Call or send a message to people you know who might be feeling isolated right now, ask them how they are doing and send them a positive message of hope
  • Connect with seniors or people in your community that are not mobile or have ongoing health conditions and ask if there is anything that they need

Like any other challenges we face, we believe we will make it through all of this, but we know it’s an adjustment for everyone right now. We are here to continue to be of service to children and families in our community, however we can.

Please share this page with other parents, guardians and families if you feel it would be helpful to them!