Covid-19 Coronavirus Ideas for Parents, Sensory Activities For Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) & Resources  

A novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. 

Here are some tips to help parents talk to their children about the coronavirus (Covid-19) and ideas to help them do the most important job in the world.

COVID-19 has changed our families and affected the lives of everyone around the world. Many of us can't go to work and school has been cancelled. Most of our cities, towns and countries are in self isolation, quarantined or completely in lock down. I know you are all feeling stressed and overwhelmed so I wanted to add some resources that may help you and your children. 

If you need support, have questions or want to vent please post on our Facebook page Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support and I can share it for you. If you would like to post a question anonymously please email me directly and I can post it for you. 

1. Stay as calm as you can. Children can and will pick up on your emotions and feelings. They can feel it when you are anxious or worried. Staying calm will be comforting and reassuring to  your children. 

2. Keep conversations, questions and answers simple. Explain to your children that people will get sick but feel like they have a cold or flu. If you go into too much detail it will cause more concern and anxiety for your children. 

3. Learn as much as you can and keep informed. Educating yourself will help you and your children. Give information that is age appropriate. Be aware of what information your older children are seeing from news and online sources. You want your children to be reading and watching facts from reliable news sources.  

4. Teach your children about Covid-19 and how to stay healthy and safe. Encourage hand washing, using hand sanitizer, not to touch their faces, keeping surfaces clean and safe social distancing. Explain what they will need to do to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

5. What children see, they will do. Be a good role model. If they see you washing your hands and singing Happy Birthday for 20 second as recommended they too will also most likely want to do the same. 

6. Remind your children this is temporary. This is not forever and if we follow the preventative actions then we can stop the spread of Covid-19 and we will be able to go out again.

7. Reinforce a daily routine, this may help them with any anxious feelings they may be having.

8. Find new ways for your children to learn while staying healthy and safe. 
(I have included resources at the bottom of this page)

9. One on one time is so important right now for your children. It will make them feel loved, important and secure. School shut downs are also a time to develop a closer relationship with your children and teens too. This time is free and also fun. 
(I have included activities at the bottom of this page)

10. Set aside time each day to do activities with your child. Playing with their toys, crafts or playing a game. This will give them something to look forward too each day. 

11. Give them options to choose activities, you can also take this opportunity to explain social distancing. 

12. As usual, praise them when you see good behavior, this will reassure them you care and that you noticed their positive behavior. 

13. To help your teens connect with friends while social distancing, you can help them set up options through social media. 

14. Make a schedule. This will help children feel secure and they will know what to expect each day to prevent meltdowns. Children like to know what is happening. Stick to their usual routines as much as possible. There's going to be a lot of changes but encouraging them to do school work and keep similar routines will promote health and well-being.

15. Allow free time in their daily schedules for them to choose their own activities as well as scheduled activities too. 

16. Ask your children to help build a daily/weekly schedule. They will want to follow it more if they have been asked for input on what they would like to be included. 

17. Exercise should be included in daily activities and schedules. This will help your children burn off their extra energy and will also help reduce stress and anxiety too. 

18. Listen to your children's suggestions, concerns and questions. Take them seriously. We are struggling as parents so they will be confused and unsure of what is happening too. This will help ease uncertainty and anxiety for children. 

19. Make hand washing and hygiene fun! Sing songs together and give a lot of praise when you see them practicing healthy behaviors such as hand washing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking everyone to practice hand washing so we can all stay healthy and safe. There's a few songs going around that our kids can sing while washing their hands. Here are a few.  Baby Shark, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Wheels on the Bus or Happy Birthday. 

20. At the end of each day, sit down with your children and let them know some positive things you noticed they did or how impressed you were when they did something to keep themselves healthy and safe.

21. All children will misbehave. Especially when they are stuck in the house, nervous, afraid, unsure or tired and with a lot of changes to their daily routine. Which can make us parents frustrated with how they're behaving. Give children 10-15 minute sensory breaks or short breaks to go to their rooms and scream it out or quiet time to swing in their sensory swing. This can also give you a little break too. 

22. Consequences teach your child responsibility for their actions. Be calm when giving consequences. Explain rules and expectations during lock downs and social isolation to children and have them repeat them back to you so you know that they heard you and understood them. 

23. Follow through with consequences and be consistant. If you give a consequence and don't follow through it will send mixed messages and confuse your child and they will believe they can do it again or not behave and there will be no consequences. 

24. This is a stressful time for parents too. It's can be hard to make time for yourself. It's very important to take care of you too so that you can care for your children. Self care for parents is always so important and needed even more during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

25. We as parents are all worried and stressed right now. It is important that you have someone to talk to for support too. Take care of your own mental health and stay connected to friends so you have someone to share your feelings with too. 

26. You are working harder than ever right now as a parent. Make a list for yourself of what you need during this time for yourself. It's important to take time for you too. Taking a long bubble bath with wine after bedtime or laying down to read a book with a cup of tea. 

27. Remind your child that you are there for them if they need to talk or ask you any questions. Reassure them that they are safe, loved and you are there for them.  

28. Children may not express their concerns verbally. Keep an eye on changes in their behavior, appetite and sleep patterns too because they may indicate a child’s level of anxiety. 

29. If anxiety continues beyond four to six weeks, it is important to seek professional support. Most cities and towns will have a local mental health number set up for their communities during this pandemic. If you can't find a contact mumber or need help finding information please reach out on our Facebook page and we can help you find it. 

30. Keep yourself and your children connected to family and friends. Your children seeing their family and friends will help them stay connected to everyone they know and love while promoting safe social distancing and self isolating.

31. Take time to do some yoga, meditate, write in a journal. 

32. Don't dwell on the worst cases and negativity. While we do need to explain the risks based on our children's ages, we should also share the positive stories. Share stories of those who are feeling better from Covid-19, recovering and how hard the first responders are working and saving lives. There are many positive stories being shared all over the world of those who are helping people. Focus more on the positive and less negative social media. 

This is a uncertain time that brings a lot of frustration and anxiety for everyone but we will get through this together. We are a community full of amazing special needs parents who are there for you. If you need support, please ask for it. You don't have to do this alone. Stay safe and healthy everyone. 

When should I seek urgent care for my child?

Take your child immediately to Emergency or call 911 if your child:

Is having difficulty breathing

Has blue lips or skin, or appears very pale

Is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever

Is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit

Has diarrhea and vomiting and is not producing tears, and has not urinated for several hours

Has a high fever, appears very sleepy, and has not improved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

Is under three months of age and has a fever of greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F)

Sensory Activities During Coronavirus Covid-19 Self Isolation and Lock Down for Sensory Families 

2-3 minute movement break every 10-15 minutes.

Have a visual timer and/or visual schedule so that your child knows what the planned sensory breaks will be and for how long. 

Give the child warnings that the break is soon ending. Sensory breaks should accommodate your child's sensory needs. Consult an Occupational Therapist to plan a sensory diet for your child. 

1. Using a weighted blanket

2. Running around

4. Yoga

5. Jumping on a crash pad 

6. Climbing Stairs

8. Drinking with a straw

9. Tossing a weighted ball

10. Sensory platform swing

11. Jumping on a trampoline 
12. Bear walks

13. Jumping on bubble wrap

14. Using a scooter board

15. Obstacle course

16. Blow up balloons

17. Wearing a weighted vest

19. Glow sticks bath tub

20. Sliding down the slide

22. Big hugs

23. Eat sour and spicy flavours 

24. Rocking 

25. Stringing beads (fine motor)

27. Roller blades

28. Wagon ride

31. Soccer

32. Make slime

34. Ball hockey

35. Hopscotch

36. Crawling through boxes 

37. Pulling apart resistant toys/objects

38. Squishing between pillows

39. Push ups 

40. Stretching in a sensory body sock

41. Spinning on chair with wheels

42. Rocking on a rocking horse

43. Hanging upside down off couch

44. Climbing on playground equipment

45. Play with Clay

46. Retrieving objects hidden in rice or beans

48. Whip cream painting

49. Pudding play

50. Push furniture around

52. Using a peanut ball

53. Using a yoga ball

54. Spinning

55. Tug of war

56. Wheelbarrow walk

59. Gentle play wrestling

60. Jumping Jacks

62. Tickle over there skin softly

64. Carrying RelaxPack sensory backpack

65. Turn on bubble column
66. Play catch

67. Eating crunchy foods 

69. Jumping on bouncy castle 
70. Hopscotch

71. Blanket Burito

73. Blowing whistles

74. Chew gum

76. Listen to music

77. Build a blanket tent 

78. Spinning on a Bilibo 

80. Dancing

84. Playing with play dough
85. Playing in shaving cream

86. Discovering sensory bins

87. Massage

88. Crab walk

89. Cuddle a house pet

91. Bubble baths

92. Tattoo/stickers on body

93. Hitting a kids punching bag

94. Sensory Vibration cushion

96. Crawling through a sensory tunnel

97. Sit ups

98. Go visit an indoor sensory play park  

99. Lay down with sensory lights in the dark

What are you doing to keep your kids busy while staying home? Here are some ideas 

Have a reading marathon.
Write stories together.
Paint or draw together.
Create a fort in your living room out of blankets or cardboard boxes.
Play board games.
Play kickball in the yard.
Play hide-and-seek.
Have a pillow fight.
Watch movies and make popcorn.
Tell stories.
Have a scavenger hunt.
Make a maze on the floor with painter’s tape.
Play card games.
Bake cookies.
Create a blog together.
Create a scrapbook.
Make a movie using a camcorder and computer.
Learn to play music.
Finger paint.
Make play dough from scratch.
Make homemade mini pizzas.
Make popsicles.
Write letters to family.
Paint or decorate the kids’ room.
Make milkshakes.
Play freeze tag.
Create a treasure hunt for them (leaving clues around the house).
Do a science experiment.
Play “I Spy” inside or out the window.
Facetime or Skype with family or friends.
Have a tea party.
Make a water sensory bag.
Play “The Floor is Lava.”
Snuggle on the couch and read your favorite books.
Play marbles on the floor.
Create a new dessert.
Play 20 Questions.
Make creatures out of pipe cleaners.
Make a sensory bottle.

Make a time capsule. 
Play hangman or tic-tac-toe.
Play games online.
Teach them to play chess.
Create a family book, with information and pictures about each family member.
Compete in a three-legged or other race.
Create an obstacle course.
Pitch a tent and pretend to be camping.
Play loud music and dance.
Write and produce a play (to perform for family members).
Paint each other’s faces.
Play a trivia game and make up trivia questions about each other.
Make hot cocoa.
Play house.
Do shadow puppets.
Blow bubbles.
Sing songs.
Tell ghost stories in the dark with a flashlight.
Build stuff with Legos.
Give them a bubble bath.
Bake a cake and decorate it.
Play dress-up.
Thumb-wrestle or have a tickle fight.
Learn to juggle.
Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest.
Prank call their grandparents using disguised and funny voices.
Make Slime.
Set up an in-home nail salon and try some nail art techniques.
Dress up in your best clothes and have a fancy dinner.
Make friendship bracelets.
Have an indoor picnic.
Listen to an audiobook or podcast together.
Try some yoga poses.
Create your own bingo cards and have a bingo tournament.
Learn and play a new card game.

Play indoor volleyball or soccer with balloons.
Play hangman or tic-tac-toe.

Social Story for kids to explain the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Billie and the Brilliant Bubble was born when social distancing orders began in early 2020. Tara wanted a fun and simple way to explain the new  guidelines to her young daughters, Alexandria and Addison.

One day, while Tara and the girls were on a walk, it dawned on her that Alex and Addison loved bubbles. It would be fun pretending they were inside an imaginary bubble that protects them from germs and keeps their family and friends healthy. When restrictions were in place, the girls were still able to walk around the nature trail, ride their scooters, and go for ice cream with Mommy and Daddy, all in the safety of their imaginary bubbles. Alex and Addison had so much fun with their magical bubbles, Tara knew she had to share the idea.

Educational Websites To Help You Due To School Closures
(Most are offering FREE Subscriptions) 

Parenting in the time of COVID-19 
To help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, these six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. Use them to your and your kids’ advantage, and have fun in doing so.  

When shopping for sensory products during this very difficult time, please consider these businesses that give so much to our page all year long. They have given us so many products over the years for giveaways and provide us sale codes during the years and continue to come out with awesome new products to help our kids. Supporting small businesses means so much right now with everything going on the world. Small businesses are struggling so much right now.  

Sensory Processing Disorder Chores, Rewards & Charts For Kids

Topics that come up often from parents are rewards, chores, responsibilities and charts. There's so much information out there that it become overwhelming. Chores and expectations can be different depending on many different factors. The child's age, physical ability, maturity and their interests. 

You can supervise and have an idea for what is too much for your child based on their abilities. Some children cannot do chores that others their age can and that's okay too. 

I know that getting our children to do chores can be extremely challenging. I am all too familiar with the meltdowns, yelling and chaos that comes along with reminding our kids that they need to do their chores. Click here for more information on chores during Covid-19 Coronavirus 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists give you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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