Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic

Be Present: When your child approaches you looking for guidance or comfort, offer them your full attention whenever possible.

Be Observant: Be aware of any significant changes in your child’s(ren) non-verbal behaviour.

Active Listening: Children will be looking to care-givers for understanding and guidance during this time. Tune in to their use of language and tone and give them space to speak.

Validate Emotions/Concerns: Even if your child’s concern seems silly or superficial to you, remember that it is a serious matter to them. Try not to talk down to children or dismiss their concerns.

Walnut Brain *ACTIVATED* What it Looks Like & What We can do

  • Stress responses typically look like frustration, irritability and poor listening skills.
  • Some children may regress in their behaviours temporarily as a response to stress, (i.e. was potty trained but is now having frequent accidents; using “baby talk” when they know the words for something, or becoming very attached to an outgrown toy or item like a pacifier).
  • Model calm behaviour to help your children cope.
  • Teach healthy and appropriate ways to deal with stress, and how to express it
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional if you have any concerns about your child’s behaviour or emotional well-being.
  • Limit or eliminate any sources of stressful or scary information children are exposed to (i.e. news, other media

Different Ages & Stages

  • 0-6 years old: Children this young are not able to comprehend or process what is happening in a sophisticated way. They will look to you to see how they should respond. Basically, if you’re okay, then they are okay.
  • 6-12 years old: Children this age are trying to navigate and master independence. They like being able to do more for themselves, and they also thrive off routine. In stressful times, it is important to maintain structure and routine whenever possible.
  • 13-19 years old: Adolescents tend to behave in one of two ways in times of high stress. They may become more clingy and regress, or they may go the complete opposite way and engage in risky behaviours (corona virus parties, pushing boundaries of safety).

How Can Parents Help Kids Cope

  • Be open to discussing fears and emotions with children
  • Display warmth and empathy
  • Regulate and monitor your own emotions
  • Be mindful of which news content you and your children are exposed to, as well as the quantity
  • Reassure kids that they are safe, and we will be here to help them if they need it
  • Be patient; it may be hard for kids to understand why they can’t play with friends face to face or why they are missing a birthday party – be prepared to calmly explain why multiple times
  • Model appropriate social distancing and handwashing/hygiene protocol
  • Acknowledge your own stress and fear, take care of yourself so you can continue to nurture your children
  • Ask your child what they have heard about COVID-19. Correct any misinformation from a trusted source (AHS, WHO, etc.,)
  • Encourage creative outlets for children to express themselves i.e. paint, draw, play-doh)
  • Create time in the week for a fun family activity that kids can look forward to
  • Talk about fun ideas for activities to do once physical distancing is no longer necessary