Parent Resources during the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Parent Resources during the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak
By: Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP


To help contain COVID-19, many schools are moving children to online learning at home. In addition, many parents are being asked to work from home. These forms of social distancing are needed to help slow the spread of the virus and prevent overloading the health care system.

But many families now face new challenges: how do we care for our children while working and schooling at home, and not panic during this unprecedented outbreak? The first step: take a deep breath. Know that we are all in this together. And together we will get through it.

Here are some other tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you cope with this “new normal” until the virus is under control.

Slow the spread

It may be tempting to get kids together for play dates or sleepovers, but this should be avoided. Social distancing only works if we all participate. And slowing down or preventing the spread of the virus will save lives.

Protect grandparents. This is also not the time to visit grandparents or ask them to help out with child care duties. People who are over age 60 are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and should not increase that risk by being around children who may be ill with mild symptoms. However, they may feel alone or disconnected during social distancing, so keep up communications through phone calls, texting, or video chats.

Keep a routine

Since changes in routine can be stressful, it will be helpful to talk with your kids about why they are staying home and what your daily structure will be during this time. Let them help create a daily schedule that can hang on the refrigerator or somewhere they can see it each day. Be sure to include breaks from tele-work or schoolwork to relax and connect with each other.

Here are some ideas to help you create a daily schedule:

  • Wake up, get dressed and have breakfast at the normal time.
  • Decide where everyone can do their work most effectively and without distractions.
  • List the times for learning, exercise and breaks.
    • For younger children, 20 minutes of class assignments followed by 10 minutes of physical activity might work well.
    • Older children and teens may be able to focus on assignments for longer stretches, taking breaks between subjects.
    • Include your hours as well, so your children know when the work day is done.
  • Schedule time for nutritious lunches and snacks. Many schools are providing take-home school meal packages for students who need them.
  • Don’t forget afternoon breaks as well!
  • Have dinner together as a family and discuss the day.
  • Enjoy more family time in the evenings, playing, reading, watching a movie or exercising together.
  • Stick with normal bedtime routines as much as possible during the week to make sure everyone gets enough sleep.

Try not to have the news on all day. It is best not to have the news on while kids are in the room as it can increase their fear and anxiety (and yours!). If they do listen to the news, talk together about what they are hearing and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear.

Should I worry about extra screen time right now?

While limits are still important, it’s understandable that under these stressful circumstances, kids’ screen media use will likely increase. Here are some ways to help keep media use positive and helpful:

  • Contact teachers about educational online and offline activities your children should do. Preschool teachers may not have an online curriculum to share, but good options include PBS Kids, which is sending out a daily newsletter with show and activity ideas.
  • Use social media for good. Check in with your neighbors, friends and loved ones. If schools are closed, find out if there are ways to help students who need meals or internet access for at-home learning.
  • Use media for social connection. Social distancing can be isolating. If your kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats or social media to stay in touch.
  • Choose quality content and use trusted sources to find it. Common Sense Media, for example, suggests 25 dance?? games and other active apps, websites, and video games? for families hunkering down right now.
  • Use media together. This is a great opportunity to monitor what your older children are seeing online and follow what your children are learning. Even watching a family movie together can help everyone relax while you appreciate the storytelling and meaning that movies can bring.
  • Take your child (virtually) to work. Working from home? Use this time as a chance to show your kids a part of your world. Encouraging imaginative “work” play may be a way to apply “take your child to work day” without ever leaving home!
  • Limits are still important. As always, technology use should not push out time needed for needed sleep, physical activity, reading, or family connection. Make a plan about how much time kids can play video games online with friends, and where their devices will charge at night.


Staying at home and other social distancing recommendations may feel like an inconvenience, but it’s the best way right now to protect our family, friends, and neighbors who may be vulnerable.

If anyone in your home starts showing symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor to discuss what to do.

More information

Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Social Distancing: Why Keeping Your Distance Helps Keep Others Safe

Teens & COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunties During the Outbreak?

About Dr. Cross

Corinn Cross, MD FAAP, is an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson, an active member the academy’s Council on Communications and Media, a Member-At-Large of her local California AAP Chapter-2 and a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.


Supporting Families During COVID-19

We know parents are struggling to balance work, child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. You don’t have to do it alone.

The Child Mind Institute is open and available for you and your child during this crisis. Our expert clinicians can do telehealth evaluations and treatment for ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders and learning disorders. Click here to request a remote appointment and learn more.

Our supportive resources include:


Click here for a playlist of previous Daily Tips.

Click below to navigate to each section:

Coping With the Coronavirus Crisis

Supporting Kids Through the COVID-19 Crisis
Tips for nurturing and protecting children at home.

Supporting Teenagers and Young Adults During the Coronavirus Crisis
Tips for parents with older children at home.

Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus
For parents, prioritizing your own well-being benefits your whole family.

Anxiety and Coping With the Coronavirus
Managing worry — your kids’ and your own.

How Mindfulness Can Help During COVID-19
Tips for calming anxiety during a difficult time.

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
Kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark. Here’s what to say.

Giving Kids With ADHD Support and Structure During the Coronavirus Crisis
Managing attention (yours and theirs) will help kids thrive.

Single Parenting During the Coronavirus Crisis
Strategies for managing when you’re going it alone

Coronavirus Parenting: Managing Anger and Frustration
Parents everywhere are losing their temper and yelling at their kids. How to maintain your cool under stress

Autism and the Coronavirus

Resources for Families of Children on the Spectrum
From how to talk to kids with autism about the coronavirus to how to teach handwashing and develop schedules.

Remote Learning

Family Resources for Remote Learning
Clinicians from our Learning and Development Center have organized resources for parents who are suddenly responsible for the home school environment.

Managing Anxiety

Anxious Stomach Aches and Headaches
Anxiety in children sometimes manifest physically. Here’s what to watch for.

How to Help Children Manage Fears
Tips for teaching children how to build resilience and learn to calm themselves down, even when things feel scary.

Tips for Calming Anxious Kids
Go-to techniques for coaxing anxiety-prone children out of their fears from a Mom who’s been there.

How to Avoid Passing Anxiety on to Your Kids
Help yourself, and them, by learning techniques to manage stress in a healthy way.

How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior
Kids who are acting out, melting down, or being defiant may actually be seriously anxious.

What to Do (and Not Do) When Children Are Anxious
How to respect their feelings without empowering their fears.

Panic Attacks and How to Treat Them
Knowing what to look for and how to help children calm down is key.

The Power of Mindfulness
How a meditation practice can help kids (and parents) feel less anxious and more relaxed.

Discipline and Behavior

Why Do Kids Have Problems With Transitions?
A look at why being asked to switch gears is a common trigger for whining and tantrums.

How Can We Help Kids With Transitions?
With the right support, children can learn to change gears without whining and tantrums.

Three Common Parenting Traps
And tips for avoiding them.

Why do Kids Have Tantrums and Meltdowns?
Understanding why they happen can help parents head problems off before they escalate.

How to Discipline Toddlers
Setting and enforcing consistent limits is key.

How To Make Time Outs Work
Tips for using them effectively.

When Siblings Won’t Stop Fighting
How parents can keep the peace and help kids learn to resolve conflicts.

Coronavirus Parenting: Managing Anger and Frustration
Parents everywhere are losing their temper and yelling at their kids. How to maintain your cool under stress

Dealing With Loss

Helping Children Cope With Grief
Tips broken down into a range of ages and experiences, and information about what to say, who should say it, what to look out for and how to help.

How to Handle Holidays After a Death in the Family
Grief can make special days harder

What Is PTSD?
The disorder looks different in children as they develop

Treatment for PTSD
There are several evidence-based therapies for young people with PTSD