Navigating Staying At Home Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

This is an overwhelming time and I know many of us are dealing with uncharted territory. With schools closed and social distancing in place it is important to help our children understand what and how they are feeling. Linked below are two resources that may be helpful. The first is a social story which is a simple story that can be used to help a child understand unfamiliar and abstract concepts. Second is a cartoon that makes the coronavirus more accessible for kids.

·       Coronavirus Social Story

·       Coronavirus cartoon (whole article)

·       Coronavirus Cartoon (cartoon only/printable)


Empower your child by teaching them how to wash their hands thoroughly. Children may feel more calm if they have a sense of control over prevention. Try this Daniel Tiger Hand Washing video or this Visual hand washing experiment.

With all of the newness going on it is important to help your child adjust to these unknowns. We recommend: 


·       Routines can help us feel more in control and cope with change. TRY:

·       Waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday

·       Carry out typical bedtime routines

·       Make a schedule each morning so your child can adapt- even when you may be taking this day by day. We use this strategy often during our sessions- just writing things in order on a whiteboard or sheet of paper helps define expectations.



·       Children (& adults too) need movement! Finding ways to build movement into your days has many benefits. Try activities that provide proprioceptive input AKA heavy work.

  • Heavy work provides proprioceptive input into your muscles and joints. Heavy work can be calming, organizing, regulating, and grounding.

  • Try to choose heavy work activities as often as possible and especially before completing any at home school work.

  • Look for activities that require PUSHING, PULLING, and WEIGHT BEARING



ANIMAL WALKS (crawl like a bear, hop like a frog, slither like a snake, stomp like a dinosaur)

DOING CHORES (sweeping, mopping, pushing a laundry basket, moving laundry into washer/drier, setting the table, pushing chairs, vacuuming)

SQUEEZING & KNEADING (playdough, slime, pizza or cookie dough etc).

CHEWING & ORAL INPUT (choose chewy or crunchy snacks. Use ice pops, lollipops, and drinking through a straw for extra sensory input)

TUG OF WAR (use a towel, blanket, or scarf)

Place pillows around for additional proprioceptive input or “crashing” when you lose

PULLING (try a carpet ride-place both knees on a blanket on a wood floor. Walk hands out then scoot knees to meet hands)

BUILD A FORT (lifting, layering, and moving blankets and pillows provides heavy work)



·       Keep your language positive. Focus on things you CAN do and things you GET to do together because you are home.

·       “We GET TO clean together” and “we GET TO do school work together”

·       THE YES LIST (things you can do)

·       Get outside, take a walk, go on a hike, have a nature scavenger hunt, play in your yard, listen to music, have a dance party (freeze dance), go for a drive, group video chats or face times with cousins, friends, family members.



·       Storyline Online is a free site that features actors reading aloud popular children’s books.

·       FOR PARENTS: When working from home try to clearly delegate time you will work and time you are available. If you are a two parent household, discuss ahead of time what scheduling looks like for the next day- block out times for meetings or tasks that require undivided attention or alternate days to thee extend possible.

o   Utilize nap times

o   Work before your children wake up in the morning

o   Rotate toys to facilitate more independent play

·       Use the visual timer app to help your child focus on school work or to provide a visual when you must give work your undivided attention. Make a “snack date” or movement break together for after the timer goes off. 

·       Stop, Breathe, and Think Kids App includes child friendly meditation

·       Bear Focus Timer (BFT) $1.99 in the app store- use timer to break task into smaller manageable chunks with breaks.

·       Go Noodle website that has movements, dances, and games kids can follow along with. Many teachers use these as movement breaks in school.

Elizabeth Binckes, MS OTR/L

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if there is any way we can continue to support you and your family at this time. Although we are not currently seeing clients in the office, we are available for telehealth, consultation, via phone and email.