Parents/Caregivers of Young Children: Start Here

Student Authors: Mengting Qiu [1], Chandler Moore [1], and Toke Odimayomi [2]

Contact: mengting_qiu@hms.harvard.edu

Faculty Reviewers: Juliana H. Chen, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist [1,3], Rachel Conrad, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist [1,4], Helene Pinches, M.D., Fellow in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics [4]

Student Reviewers: Allison Fialkowski [1], Margaret Irwin [1], Katie Kester [1], Rachel Reardon [1]

[1] Harvard Medical School, [2] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, [3] Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, [4] Boston Children’s Hospital

Education Reviewers: Donna Fialkowski, M.Ed., Special Education Teacher, Atlanta City Public School System; Jennifer Pitt-Lainsbury, School Administrator, University of Toronto Schools

Introduction

Everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be particularly difficult to take care of a young child while facing numerous other challenges. It is okay if you are not doing everything perfectly “right” during this time. This guide hopes to provide some foundational guidance and links to a variety of resources which you may find useful. It is not meant to offer professional or medical advice. As always, you should reach out to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about your child.

Here, you will find tips for new parents, suggestions for managing daily routines, ways to support your child's development, tips for stress management and resilience-building for you and your child, ideas for activities to do together, and strategies to address your child’s questions about COVID-19. Every child, every parent/caregiver, and every family is unique. We encourage you to decide for yourself which suggestions best fit your family’s individual needs and what will allow you to parent at your best (even if it’s not “the best”) during this time.

Our References and Additional Resources pages list sources consulted (ordered by section and subsection), as well as additional resources you may find helpful.