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Protecting Children and Promoting Resilience During COVID-19

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As adults, we understand that, through a little effort, we can work to buffer some of the inevitable stressors that come along with the COVID-19 pandemic. And, that’s an important lesson for kids, too.

Kids will have to deal with challenges in their lives that come along with physical distancing, social isolation and staying home – as well as the impacts of any financial changes in their families. Yet, we know from years of research on resilience, that children can adapt and continue to develop in healthy ways through such challenges.

To reduce the impact of stressors and adversity, we can all play a role in supporting the presence of protective factors.

Protective factors are made up of a variety of experiences, people factors and environmental aspects that all come together to help a child have the best chance of normal or positive outcomes after traumatic events.

An important protective factor includes creating an environment in which they feel safe and secure, both physically and emotionally. Other factors include:

  • Interactions with caregivers that are sensitive and responsive to child’s needs (like doing a shared activity with your child)
  • Ensuring basic needs are met (food, shelter, medical care)
  • Attention to children’s emotional needs (support emotional regulation – by talking about feelings and sharing ways to deal with emotions) with ample reassurance as needed
  • Keeping up with routines around sleeping, eating and free-time
  • Promotion of social connectedness to other children and adults (video chats, and online interactive social activities)
  • Caregivers that are supported and follow their own self-care (reach out for help when needed, take care of one’s own mental health)

Remember that a child’s protective factors and resilience are developed by parents, other caregivers and communities – so no one person or parent needs to do this alone!

Children can adapt and continue to develop in healthy ways through such challenges.


Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.