• We know that public health events such as infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19 can cause emotional distress and anxiety for your family. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed, or powerless is common during an infectious disease outbreak, especially in the face of a virus with which the general public may be unfamiliar.  We hope you will find some of these tips helpful.


    Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.


    Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

    • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
    • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • Worsening of chronic health problems
    • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
    • Irritability
    • Increased depressive symptoms
    • Increased anxiety symptoms


    There are many things you can do to support your child:

    • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
    • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset.
    • Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
    • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
    • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
    • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.


    Tips for Managing Distance Learning:

    1.  Hold a family meeting:  Family planning is key.  Talk to your children about this 'new normal,' and communicate with them that while they may be at home, there are still assignments that must be completed in a timely manner.  Since your child is coming from a structured school environment, the structure is important for both them and you.

    2.  Create a daily schedule:  It's important to have set hours for school, meals, chores and other daily activities.  Many routine activities are now disrupted, and that's going to be an emotional process for everyone. Kids are going to be disappointed, as are parents, not to have their normal routine. Decide on a schedule together as a team.  Let the kids help plan it and it will run smoother.

    3.  Create a Learning Environment:  Help them create their own workspace — at the kitchen table, on their bed, in a comfy chair in the living room — and know that you may find a rotation works well for different subjects, especially for those students accustomed to visiting a different classroom and teacher for math, English and electives,"  If you have more then one child at home they may all want to rotate and may need to take turns with online work. 

    4.  Reach out to Teachers:  If you have questions don't be afraid to reach out to your student's teachers!

    5. Incentives:  Some students are self-motivated, but some may need time limits or incentives like, 'You need to finish ABC before you can XYZ.' Not every student is a morning person, but it's much easier to accomplish what you need to first thing before the whole day slips by, so that's a great case for building incentives into your new routine — just as we encourage our children to eat their vegetables before they can have a slice of cake."  Incentives like time with electronics or playtime once schoolwork is complete and suggests making expectations clear to kids so there's no confusion about what they need to get finished to earn their reward. For some children, a dry erase board, or a sheet of paper where you can list out all assignments and chores for the day and then check them off as they go, may be most effective. 

    6. Take breaks:  Downtime is just as helpful in getting through the school day as a schedule.  Students have downtime at school throughout a normal school day, while they're changing classes or while they're waiting for other students to finish their work.  Remember to give them the same while they're at home. Allow them to get outside during this time if at all possible to get them physically moving. 

    7. Make it fun!