As the country and the world respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all feeling a range of emotions. At CASEL, we understand how important it is to attend to the social and emotional needs that arise during times like these. SEL offers a powerful means to explore and express our emotions, build relationships, and support each other – children and adults alike – during this challenging time.
CASEL CARES is a new initiative that connects the SEL community with experts to address how SEL can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances.
Our social media channels will continue to have tips, resources, and more. Find us: Twitter and Facebook.
Building Resilience to
Others, + Our Students
April 10 at 1 pm ET
Let’s Listen to
Our Young People:
What Support Do
April 17 at 1 pm ET
Please feel free to access and share the resources below, which are designed to support educators, parents, and anyone who works with children. This page will be updated regularly.
For Parents and Caregivers
Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
- Pay close attention to your own feelings of stress or anxiety.Practice continued self-care strategies, including eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and finding time to take breaks. If you find yourself overwhelmed by negative thoughts, find ways to reframe your thinking. Seek out needed mental health support for yourself or loved ones.
- Acknowledge and support children in processing their full range of emotions and concerns, while offering calm and reassurance. Consider how children will react at different ages and identify appropriate ways to respond. Find ways for children to express their feelings through conversation, music, art, dance, writing, or other activities. Tune into how they’re feeling throughout the day, and offer quiet time or breaks as needed.
- Provide age-appropriate information and accurate answers about the news while limiting excessive television or social media. Help children assess facts from misinformation and stereotyping related to the disease.
- Share with children what you’re doing to keep them safe. Help children learn about and practice proactive strategies, such as frequent handwashing, to stay healthy. In addition to promoting healthy practices, this can help them feel a greater sense of control.
- Whenever possible, provide consistency in daily routines including meals and bedtimes. While school closures or changes in schedules may be inevitable, consistent routines can help foster a sense of safety.
- Practice patience when routines are necessarily disrupted, which can lead to potential behavior issues or meltdowns. Try to comfort children while setting boundaries. This is also an opportunity to create new schedules and routines that promote family time and healthy practices, such as taking a morning walk together, creating a “coping kit”, or adding favorite family songs to handwashing routines.
- Help children and adolescents think of creative ways to maintain their friendships and social connections. This may include writing emails or letters to friends, or scheduling time to use the phone or age-appropriate technology to communicate with peers. Remember that your own social connections are important as well, and make time to reach out by phone or virtually to family and friends.
- Come up with fun alternatives to show signs of affection while minimizing the spread of germs. For example, elbow bumps or footshakes.
- Proactively reach out to schools and community organizations to support you in meeting any additional needs your family may have, such as access to meals or support services.
Resources: Talking to Children about the Coronavirus
- National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- New York Times: How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus
- Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
- Open Circle: How to Talk to Kids about Coronavirus
- PBS Parents: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
- New York School Talk: Educator Shares Tips for Talking to Kids About Coronavirus Fears
- NPR: What To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary
- NPR: Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
- Livescience: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide to the New Coronavirus
Resources: Planning Activities at Home
- Confident Parents, Confident Kids: My Kid’s School is Closed So Now What?
- Harvard: Caring for Preschoolers at Home
- Scholastic: Free Resources for School Closure
- Great Schools: School Closure Learning Guide
- Confident Parents, Confident Kids: Facebook morning announcements to help families set the tone for a positive learning day
- Feeding America: Find Your Local Foodbank
Guidelines for Educators
- Acknowledge that both children and adults may feel worried or stressed as they’re going through the school and work day. Provide opportunities for them to share and process their emotions, as well as structures that allow them to take individual time to reflect and gather their thoughts. Use existing SEL programs to help provide these opportunities and promote empathy for one another and those most impacted by the virus.
- Support teachers in engaging students in developmentally appropriate conversations and lessons to discuss the news around COVID-19. This can include assessing facts from misinformation, as well as opportunities for students to develop and suggest strategies for their school or community to prevent the spread of disease.
- Use developmentally appropriate conversations and lessons to discuss the impact, history, and context around biased or stigmatizing comments and behaviors related to the disease. See examples of how to have conversations about racism, stereotyping , and bias related to the virus.
- Whenever possible, provide consistency in daily school routines. While school closures or changes in schedules may be inevitable, consistent routines and procedures in the meantime help reduce stress and facilitate learning for all students. This is also an opportunity to create new routines that promote healthy practices, such as adding favorite classroom songs to handwashing routines.
- Continue SEL and community-building practices, which help maintain a sense of emotional safety and support. Provide fun alternatives to minimize the spread of germs. For example, if students and teachers typically greet one another with handshakes and high-fives, switch to elbow bumps or footshakes. If classrooms pass around shared “talking pieces” to engage in circles, create individualized ones. Or if classes or staff meetings are held virtually, provide time for verbal or written “check-ins” with one another.
- Provide families with consistent communication, as well as guidance and support in talking with their children about coronavirus.
- Consider the different needs of students and families when making response plans, and connect them to necessary resources. This includes ensuring that response plans will fully meet the needs of students and families who are homeless or in transitional living situations, may not have easy access to computers or internet, receive free or reduced price meals through school, or rely on support services at their schools.
Resources: Communications Planning
Resources: Supporting Staff
Resources: Talking to Children at Home about Coronavirus
Resources: Talking to Students in Classrooms about Coronavirus
- Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility: Guidelines for Talking with Students About the Coronavirus
- Teaching Tolerance: Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus
- Facing History & Ourselves: Protect Yourself & Stand Against Racism
- ADL: The Coronavirus Surfaces Fear, Stereotypes & Scapegoating
- AFT Share My Lesson: Coronavirus Lesson Plans & Resources
For State Policymakers and Leaders
Resources: Team Care
- CASEL: SEL Signature Practices Playbook
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Coping in Hard Times (Fact Sheet for Community Organizations and Leaders)
- National Trends in Online Learning: Presentation with key facts on distance learning and state by state virtual education capacity and reach.