All of us have been struggling to find balance and routine in our “new normal” due to the coronavirus. For parents with young children, these changes present a different set of challenges.
Children seek the security and normalcy of routines. When those routines are disrupted so completely, as they have been the past few weeks, it can cause children to be scared, sad, anxious, or angry.
They may not understand why they can’t go to the park or library or school. They may feel some anxiety about not having a “normal” routine. They may be angry that fun plans have been cancelled. They may be frightened about things they hear about the coronavirus.
All of these are totally normal and expected responses for children (and adults, too). Luckily, there are many resources available to help parents and children navigate the emotions of these difficult times. Here are a few of them:
Helpful resources for kids
Even though the library is closed, hundreds of books can still be accessed via Hoopla and other online collections. (Learn more at our Download & Stream page.) Some of the emotions your children may be feeling at this time include the I Have Feelings series, Feeling Scared, and When I Feel Sad.
Sesame Street has put together many wonderful resources to help kids, including a video of Elmo talking about how hard it is to be away from friends. There are coloring pages, videos, information for creating routines for the “For Now Normal,” and so many other great things to check out.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, based on the characters and spirit of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is a wonderful resource for so many situations involving kids’ emotions. Some appropriate songs and episodes for this current situation include:
- The season 2 episode "A Storm in the Neighborhood/After the Neighborhood Storm", which isn't exactly the same as our current situation, but it does involve a scary storm and reminds children to “look for the helpers” and that grown-ups will take care of them in scary situations. See also: the song "Look for the Helpers".
- The season 3 episode "Daniel’s Very Different Day/Class Trip to the Library", where Daniel has to deal with a day that has many changes to the normal routine and learns that it can be OK even if things are different. See also: the song "Things May Change and That's OK".
- From an episode about going on vacation, the song "What's Different and What's the Same" is about looking for how things are different and how they are the same, which is applicable to the current situation.
- Find more Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood resources
There is no doubt this is a challenging time for kids and adults alike. Luckily, with some help from favorite characters, books, and other sources, we can all get through it together.
Amy Goodchild is a Youth Services Associate at Morton Grove Public Library.