Talking with young kids about coronavirus

Things are changing so quickly. How do we engage with our young ones about everything that’s going on? Here are a few resources to help get you started. We’re adding new content virtual content daily on this page and pulled together a quick roundup of more virtual ways for kids to learn, stay engaged, and have fun.

Create calm

If you’re feeling anxious, it’s likely your kids are too.

Sing instead

Miss Shelley and Miss Jenny create Early Bird Readers videos, which are all about connecting with young children through books, stories, and songs. Here are two videos that focus on emotions and song:

Look to your kids’ favorite characters

PBS Kids offers tips and episodes focused on handwashing, germs, and taking care of yourself when you’re sick. Check out:

Stream full episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and other quality kids’ content with your library card on Kanopy Kids, a collection for children highlighting films and TV series that help kids develop empathy, mindfulness, and self-esteem through entertaining and educational videos, with Common Sense Media ratings to ensure parents have clear guidelines on which films are age-appropriate.

Bring in visuals, social narratives

For families who have a child with disabilities, Librarian Shelley Harris recommends a great resource.

Dealing with COVID-19: Resources for Special Educators, Therapists, & Families offers social narratives about the virus, handwashing, and social distancing; lots of different visual supports; communication boards with the vocabulary to talk about it; and more. At least one social narrative is in Spanish.

Draw together with Mo Willems

Mo Willems, author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the Elephant & Piggie series, and more, is offering Lunch Doodles each weekday!

Through videos posted each day at noon, Willems invites kids into his studio to draw with him. He takes kids behind the scenes of his books like Waiting Is Not Easy!, gives creative drawing lessons, answers kids’ letters and email, and talks about his own emotions, including feeling nervous. Willems says: “You might be isolated, but you’re not alone. You are an art maker. Let’s make some together.”

Manage your own anxiety

For anyone raising children, it’s a truism that you must take care of yourself first. Here are some resources for mindfulness, exercise, and managing anxiety during these uncertain times:

Meditation app Ten Percent Happier is offering free meditations, podcasts, and more to “help you build resilience and find some calm amidst the chaos.” Check out their free Coronavirus Sanity Guide for practical, actionable ways of coping with stress, fear, and anxiety. And don’t miss their new podcast episode Parenting in a Pandemic.

NPR Life Kit offers timely life advice, including episodes such as:

And through your digital library, Hoopla offers streaming workout videos including 10- and 20- minute Jillian Michaels workouts and yoga with Rodney Yee. There’s also calming and fun music, already sorted in multiple categories! Just this week, we doubled Hoopla checkout limits. Now, you can enjoy 30 items a month! And if you haven’t yet, don’t forget you need to add your PIN to your Hoopla account. Here’s how »

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