Most of us in the United States are wrapping up week one of Coronavirus quarantining. As more and more schools across the United States are closing for the foreseeable future, some parents are left feeling under-prepared on how to help their child/children behaviorally and academically.
I have heard from parents who have questions about how to talk to their kids about the virus. This is a bit tricky because it depends on the child’s developmental level and broader understanding of concepts. Fortunately, there are a number of resources to help with this, including:
A free Book for kids about COVID-19 (available in Spanish and Italian)
General information and parenting tips during this time through the Child Mind Institute
How to talk to teens and tweens from the New York Times.
A parent resource from the National Association of School Psychologists on how to talk to kids about the Coronavirus.
A kid-friendly comic strip to help explain the virus from National Public Radio.
Another common concern right now is how to schedule and structure the day for children/teens who are trying to adjust to being at home all day. Many of you have probably seen the document floating around on Facebook; however, this website provides a more comprehensive and helpful guide to schedule planning with your school-aged child. Additionally, this can be a trying time for students with disabilities. There are specific resources for planning at-home activities for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism.
During this time, many school districts are scrambling to find ways for teachers to teach online. I have seen school districts update parents through e-newsletters, Facebook, and email. Parents can also go to their child’s school district website for more information. In the meantime, there are many companies who are providing exciting and engaging online educational content for children and teens. National Geographic’s website is full of videos and activities, as is Brain Pop, which has fun and interactive lessons on all subjects. For students who are struggling with certain academic subjects, Intervention Central is a one stop shop for evidence-based intervention activities for reading and math. Finally, Starfall is an online learning platform with educational games for all levels.
One of my favorite activities for kids (and adults) during this time is to listen to kid-friendly podcasts. Many of these podcasts have online content that supports the learning process. Best robot ever is an exciting 6-minute podcast that produces new content twice each week. It is a story about a robot that has lots of fun twists and turns. For another list of kid-centric podcasts, you can also check out the list from Podyssey. Another kid favorite is the story podcast Story Spectacular.
Given that this time period may be stressful for children and adults alike, there are plenty of apps to help with meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness. There’s never been a better time to check some of these out. Some of my favorites are Headspace, Calm, Breathe2relax, Reflecty, Mindshift, and Sanvello. Although many of these have activities that kids can do, Stop, Breathe, Think for Kids is a kid-centric app to help with slowing down, relaxing, and anxiety!
If emotions are heightened and you are a parent struggling to find balance and parenting help at this time, I am always available for online sessions. Online sessions can provide the necessary support to help with parenting questions, difficulties, and effective disciplining. I also want to point out there is a comprehensive, online, evidence-based program for parents of children with behavioral difficulties. This is one of the only online programs backed by science.
Finally, I want to be sure to leave you all with important phone numbers for times of crises. Please use any of these resources as often as necessary:
Crisis Textline Text 741 741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
SAMHSA’s 24-hr Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990
Above all, stay safe and well during these times. Take deep breaths when you need to. We will all get through this together.