Caring for Yourself and Your Family

Resources and Tips from your Librarian

Have a conversation about COVID-19 with your family

Help your family cope with the stress of COVID-19 by having honest conversations:

Recognize the Signs of Stress

You and your family members are in a stressful situation with social isolation and home schooling. You can recognize the signs of stress that have been identified by the American Psychological Association:

  • Irritability and anger
  • Changes in behavior
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Eating changes

Foster Resilience in Yourself and Your Children

These strategies from the American Psychological Association will help you and your family respond to stress with resilience:

Build your Connections

  • Connect to others and put high priority on building relationships through social media. You are not alone.
  • Join a group with others who are experiencing a similar situation (for example, fellow parents of teens).

Foster Wellness

  • Take care of your physical health through eating right, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
  • Practice reflection and mindfulness. See resources on Governor Cuomo's Instagram page (

Find Purpose

  • Think about ways to help others.
  • Decide what you want your children to learn and experience during this time. Seek help to make sure you have the resources and activities that will bring those experiences alive.
  • Encourage your children to ask "I wonder" questions. Look for opportunities to help them engage in learning about topics that they wonder about and talk about the new ideas that they discover.

Embrace Healthy Thoughts

  • Realize that this situation will end. Keep the challenges you are facing in perspective.
  • Accept the fact that home schooling does not mean that you must do "school" as a teacher might in the classroom.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. Look for opportunities to try new things and learn with your children.

Seek Help

  • Ask for help when you need to. Your child's librarian, teachers, and entire school community are focused on helping you and your child succeed.

Create a Home Environment that Works for Your Family

Every family situation is different. You can create a home environment that works for your family by thinking about some of the following tips, being relaxed about the choices you make, and never expecting yourself to be "perfect." Let your children be problem-solvers, too.

These tips are drawn from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a US News article by a child psychologist, and a blog post from the American Psychological Association.

Manage the Daily Routine

  • Create a daily schedule that works for you and your children. Build in time for children to work on their learning activities with minimal distractions. Also, build in quiet time each day for children to rest and enjoy playing on their own.
  • Establish work spaces for everyone in the household (for example, kitchen table, bedroom, living room couch).
  • Set up a schedule for access to devices, especially if one computer is being shared by several members of the household.
  • Build enough flexibility into the schedule so that it can be adjusted for special opportunities (like readalouds from the librarian or different authors, special programs available through the television or Internet).
  • Promote media literacy so that your children learn to be safe, responsible, and savvy in their use of social media. Limit the time your children spend on social media.

Maintain Physical Health

  • Take time each day for physical activity. Go outside, take walks or bike rides with your children, do exercises together, dance to favorite music.
  • Be sure that everyone is getting enough sleep. Experts say that children from 6-12 years need 12 hours of sleep each night; teens need 8-10 hours each night. You, also, need to get enough sleep.

Engage in Enjoyable Opportunities Together

  • Many arts organizations are offering free online performances and activities. With your children, you can watch a Broadway play, listen to a concert, watch a movie, take a virtual tour of a favorite museum, or even tour cities across the world. Check with your librarian to find out how to access these opportunities.
  • Engage in fun family activities like working puzzles, playing board games, reading books out loud, having scavenger hunts in the house, creating art, planning menus, cooking, and writing shared stories about invented characters.
  • Foster humor and positive thinking. Share jokes and riddles. Have a "gratitude time" every day, when every member of the family shares something they are grateful for.