Many families with young children are seeking resources about learning at home with young children as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our communities. This is a trying time for early childhood programs and families as they work together to keep young children safe, healthy, and learning. We encourage adults to (1) keep a stable routine and provide consistent guidance, (2) give child-appropriate explanations, (3) provide developmentally appropriate activities, and (4) reach out for support and information from reliable sources. The resources on this list are organized by these four principles. (Note: This list was created on March 12, 2020. IEL will continue to update this list as the COVID-19 situation evolves.)
Stable Routines and Consistent Guidance
The selected IEL tip sheets below provide ideas to help caregivers use positive guidance strategies and provide stable routines for young children.
- Tip Sheet: Positive Guidance for Young Children: Be Consistent
- Tip Sheet: Positive Guidance for Young Children: Be Thoughtful
- Tip Sheet: Positive Guidance for Young Children: Plan Ahead
- Tip Sheet: Positive Guidance for Young Children: Take a Break and Calm Down
- Tip Sheet: Small Child, Big Stress?
- Tip Sheet: Eating Right = Healthy Children
- Tip Sheet: Say What You Mean! Talking Straight to Children
- Tip Sheet: Encouraging Words
- Tip Sheet: Feelings Are Fantastic
- Tip Sheet: Young Children’s Mental Health: What Is Essential?
- Tip Sheet: ZZZs, Please! Bedtime for Preschoolers
- Tip Sheet: SIDS: Back to Sleep
- Tip Sheet: Tech Time for Infants and Toddlers
- Tip Sheet: Tech Time for Young Children
The links below provide information about managing stress and providing child-appropriate explanations about the coronavirus.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Coronavirus
This link from Healthy Children provides suggestions for talking to children about the coronavirus in developmentally appropriate ways.
- Tips for Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
This link from Zero to Three provides ideas for talking to children about the coronavirus in developmentally appropriate ways.
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
The Child Mind Institute has provided suggestions for talking to children about the coronavirus and include a helpful video for adults.
- Anxiety About COVID-19 and Well-Being
This blog post from the Seleni Institute provides suggestions for caregivers that may help them manage their anxiety about COVID-19.
Developmentally Appropriate Activities
- Tip Sheet: Fun at Home with Preschoolers: Getting Ready to Read!
- Tip Sheet: Fun at Home with Preschoolers: Let’s Measure!
- Tip Sheet: Fun at Home with Preschoolers: Play with Light & Shadow
- Tip Sheet: Young Children Need to Play!
- Tip Sheet: Play With Your Toddler—Indoors
- Tip Sheet: Read and Write Together
- Tip Sheet: Read with Your Toddler!
- Tip Sheet: Sorting, Classifying, and Organizing
- Tip Sheet: Things to Do While You’re Waiting: Math Is Everywhere
- Tip Sheet: Sing, Play, and Hear: Music’s in the Air
- Tip Sheet: Counting Up, Down, and All Around!
- Tip Sheet: Get Ready to Read
Reach Out for Support
Your local health department, school district, and faith-based and community organizations are a source of support during this trying time. The resources below can help you locate these agencies and groups.
- Find Your Local Health Department
This link will help you locate your local public health office in Illinois. If there is no local public health department in your area, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health directly for guidance.
- 211 Hotline
Use the the 211 hotline to find resources in your local community in Illinois. Service areas may be viewed on this map. Simply dial 211 on your phone to connect to an operator who can help you find services and supports in your local community.
- On Our Sleeves: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Resource Directory for Illinois
This link provides a warm line and crisis line information for families in Illinois.
Reliable Sources of Information on COVID-19
Below are resources for reliable information about the COVID-19 situation and young children:
- Tip Sheet: Too Sick to Go to Child Care?
- Tip Sheet: When Should I Send a Sick Child Home
- Tip Sheet: Fight Germs! Wash Your Hands!
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Coronavirus Response
Find links to the state of Illinois response to coronavirus, including an FAQ and links to your local public health office.
- Illinois State Board of Education Guidance to Schools: Coronavirus
This link from the Illinois State Board of Education provides information about guidance for Illinois public schools.
- Child Care Aware: Coronavirus Resources
This link from Child Care Aware provides information about the coronavirus and child care settings.
- Office of Head Start: Coronavirus Prevention and Resources
This link provides information for Head Start programs about prevention and management of the coronavirus.
For more information visit the Illinois Early Learning Project website