Resources for Children, Youth, and Families During the Pandemic

A pandemic can be a very stressful time for youth, families and communities.  It is a time when people may respond with an increased sense of stress and anxiety.

This is the time to reach out, stay connected, lean on one another, and seek support, even if we cannot be in close proximity.

Kinark recommends the following resources to help our clients, families, and communities. We encourage you to share this page broadly and checkback often as we will update these resources regularly.

As a reminder, Kinark’s sites are not open to the public, but, we are providing virtual services. Please call the number associated with your local Kinark office. If you are on Kinark’s waitlist for child and youth mental health services and unsure which office to contact, call 1-888-454-6275.

Kinark is providing updates here on our public website.

Children and Youth Returning to School

A coalition of Ontario children’s hospitals advocates for the safe return of children and youth to school by emphasizing the importance of school reopening for broader child health, balanced against the potential and important risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): https://www.kinark.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/Ontario-Hospitals-Final-guidance-document.pdf

Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital makes return to school recommendations for kids with special needs saying  that a safe return to school is needed – and must be inclusive of all children, including those with disabilities, developmental and behavioral challenges and medical complexities: https://www.kinark.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/Holland-Bloorview-Back-to-School-Recommendations-Final4.pdf

COVID-19 Government Updates

Federal Government COVID-19 Update

This website provides the most up-to-date information on how the Government of Canada is responding to COVID-19:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Provincial Government COVID-19 Update

This website provides the most up-to-date information on how the province is responding to COVID-19:
https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

Child and Youth Mental Health Resources

How to Talk to Children About COVID-19

This article helps parents understand how to communicate with their children about COVID-19  to reduce worry and anxiety:
https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

How Parents Can Support Young Children

This article provides parents with tips on how to nurture and protect their children at home:
https://childmind.org/article/supporting-kids-during-the-covid-19-crisis/
https://vimeo.com/channels/1547281

How Parents can Support Teenagers and Young Adults

This article provides parents with some tips on how support the teenagers and young adults in their life:
https://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/

How To Cope with Anxiety and Stress

This article helps to understand what stress and anxiety is, what it can look like and what we can do if we are experiencing it for ourselves or our family members:
https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/how-cope-panic-and-anxiety/

Tension Release Exercise

How you can help your body to feel less stress and anxious:
https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/tension-release-exercise/

12 Instant Stress Busters

Try these tips to help you manage stress and anxiety in the moment:
https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/12-instant-stress-busters

Breathing Exercises

Learn how to use your breath to help you feel calmer and less stressed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmJNbTR7d_s (background info)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEZ8saVbC_A  (breathe in and out with square)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54EcTJSTP64 (breathe in and out on tone)
http://youtu.be/_mZbzDOpylA (video with Elmo, Collbie Callet and Common the Rapper)

How to Cope with Feeling sad, lonely, or depressed

This article helps to understand what depression is, what it can look like and what we can do if we are experiencing it for ourselves or our family members:
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=19&language=English

 How to Cope with Depression during Covid-19

Ways to help you manage feeling sad, lonely or depressed.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/joyful-parenting/202003/behavioral-activation-prevent-depression-during-covid-19
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/COVID-19

How to Respond to Suicide

If you are worried about a loved one or you are experiencing thoughts of harming oneself, here are things you can do help:
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=290&language=English

How to Help Youth Manage Emotions

When your child’s emotions get too big, here are some ways to help calm down:
https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=293&language=English&hub=mentalhealth

Body Scan Meditation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZdw6wm3A3E

Mindfulness

How a mindfulness practice can help kids become less anxious and more focused during times of stress.
https://childmind.org/article/how-mindfulness-can-help-during-covid-19/

The following are a list of different ways you/your child can practice mindfulness:

5 Minute Mindful Listening for Kids – Mind Exercise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d66ViTvGNY

Mindfulness Exercises for Kids: Still Quiet Place

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIJn5XhqPN8

25 Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens

https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-for-children-kids-activities/

Calming Down When Stressed

https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/how-calm-down-when-youre-stressed/

Mindfulness Everyday

https://www.youtube.com/user/Aboutkidshealth/search?query=mindfulness

Resources for Parents of Children with Autism

How to explain a global health pandemic to children with ASD

This article provides parents with tips on how to communicate information about Covid-19 to children with autism spectrum disorders including: creating routines, using child-friendly language, and visual supports.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-translation/202003/how-explain-global-health-crisis-children-autism

Information Booklet on supporting individuals with autism through uncertain times

This resource provides tips for parents on how to support their children through uncertain times, as well as links to educational apps, resources, and schedules.
https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/sites/afirm.fpg.unc.edu/files/covid-resources/Supporting%20Individuals%20with%20Autism%20through%20Uncertian%20Times%20Full%20Packet.pdf

Autism Speaks Canada COVID-19 Supports and Resources

This resource provides information for parents on caring for themselves and their children with autism during the pandemic.
https://www.autismspeaks.ca/media-request-contact-us/news/news-press-releases/covid-19-information-and-resources/

CBC News – Tips on supporting children with autism at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

This resources shares tips for creating routines and structure for children with autism while at home during the pandemic.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/london-tips-parents-children-autusm-covid19-1.5510273

Social Stories and Visual Resources

Explaining the coronavirus to children with autism

This social story uses visuals and text to explain (in child-friendly language) what the coronavirus is, and how to remain safe and healthy while staying home.
https://littlepuddins.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Corona-Virus-Free-Printable-Updated-2-The-Autism-Educator-.pdf

#HeretohelpON

The video was created remotely by leaders of essential services from across Ontario, including children’s mental health, police services, the violence against women sector, and Kids Help Phone as well as our partners in government. The message is that while it may seem as though the entire world has paused, Children’s Aid Societies, Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies and many more service providers are here and ready to help.