COVID-19: Tips for Parents and Caregivers
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Authors: Tessa Vatalaro, Sarwat Siddiqui
Now more than ever, New York City is a tough place to be a parent. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the lives of New Yorkers, especially parents, who must adapt to COVID related lifestyle changes while caring for children and family members inside the home. As public schools remain closed in New York City, many caregivers are left without childcare resources and must support the educational needs of their children in the home environment. The challenge of doing so is even greater for those who must manage their own work related responsibilities remotely. As New Yorkers and as parents, we feel your pain and want to share helpful resources available to families during this challenging time.
KEEPING CHILDREN INFORMED
While adults can understand and process the stress that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, children may have a more difficult time coping with significant changes in their daily routines and environment. Talking to children about COVID is just as important as staying informed yourself. Remember, conversations with little ones will be very different from conversations with adolescents and young adults. Here are some age appropriate resources for talking to children and youth about COVID-19:
Centers for Disease Control: Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019
National Association of School Psychologists: Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19
Child Mind: Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
Child Mind: Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During the Coronavirus Crisis
Unexpected mood shifts and tantrums may come up, but it’s important to recognize that children and youth may need extra support in this challenging time. The more children and youth are able to understand the COVID situation, the more they will be able to understand and regulate their emotions and responses in this challenging time.
Creating and maintaining a schedule is important for the entire family, but especially for children and youth as they adjust to new and changing routines. Keeping mealtimes, schooling, activities, and sleep patterns consistent will help youth know what to expect:n establishing a new sense ofnormal.Here are some pointers for setting a schedule with children at home:
UNICEF: Helping Kids Adjust to Online Learning During the Coronavirus Pandemic
UTHealth: Creating a new normal for kids during the uncertainties of COVID-19
There is no denying that having the entire family at home all day is taxing in more ways than one. In addition to childcare, remote learning and working needs, caregivers have more activities to monitor, more messes to clean, more complaints to manage, and more mouths to feed! Rest assured - when the responsibilities pile up h there is no shame in asking for help and support. Here is a list of resources for family support:
New York City schools are providing free meals to all students. For a list of schools distributing free meals across boroughs, visit https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/food/free-meals
NYU Langone: School’s Out: A Parents’ Guide for Meeting the Challenge During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Child Mind: Supporting Families During COVID-19
Prevent Child Abuse: Coronavirus Resources Tips for Parents, Children & Others
University of California San Francisco: Resources for Families
Staying connected to our communities is so important, even while social distancing. The sense of community in New York City remains strong. Reach out to other caregivers through online support groups, join social media communities, tune into live streams, and stay connected with these resources:
Support Groups, Chats, & Online Forums for Parents of Children & Teens: The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE)
Movie Nights: Netflix Party is a great Google Chrome extension that you can use if you have a monthly Netflix subscription. You can invite a family member, a friend (or a few) and watch the same movie at the same time!
Mailing Letters: Kids can send letters and drawings (or any other creations they have!) to friends or family members. Going old school and writing letters can help children learn some new skills, like folding, sealing, address writing, and adding a stamp. It also gives them something to look forward to when letters come back!