May 2020: Kids Coping with Stress during Covid-19

Understanding stress and conflict resolution

With the current outbreak of Covid-19 causing most people to be isolated to their homes it can be a stressful time for everyone. A change in schedule and the feeling of the unknown, both adults and children can experience overwhelming amounts of stress. With many people feeling the pressures in life, our homes can be a very tense environment, and through this tension, it is important to understand that everyone is stressed. When dealing with a conflict we need to understand where our anger and frustration is coming from while also understanding that there could be something else on our minds. In homes where children are unable to express their feelings, those feelings can often surface in forms of anger, or aggression. In this lesson, we want to open up the conversation of dealing with our feelings in a calm and controlled manner. We want children to remember it is ok to be afraid or nervous and that all of our feelings are valid.

How to detect stress in kids

Children express stress in various ways. We can detect stress in children through emotional and behavioral changes such as sadness, irritability, fear, loss of temper, crying, or lack of focus.

Children can also experience physical symptoms such as problems sleeping, headaches, anxiety, feeling burnt-out, and changes in eating habits.

An exercise for the class

Open the conversation by sharing one of your fears. And ask the class if anyone would like to share one of their fears while explaining that many fears like, being afraid of the dark, deep water, losing someone are very common and many other children in the class may feel the same way. Give the children time to explain their feelings.

Working in groups of five or six ask the children to collaborate on a poem following the pattern in We’re afraid. Every child will contribute a fear and they will all collaborate on a common fear for the last line.

We’re Afraid

I’m afraid at night in the dark

I’m afraid when I hear a dog bark

I’m afraid of thunder and lightning

I’m afraid of a bee sting

I’m afraid of some kids in the hall

And we are all afraid of getting lost in the mall


Tell the kids “it’s OK to have fears. Let’s think of some things we can do to help make these feelings go away.”

  • What can we do if we’re afraid of the dark? (turn on a night light. Leave the bedroom door open and turn on a hall light.)
  • What can we do if we’re afraid of getting lost? (know our phone numbers and addresses.)

Discuss, in this manner, other common fears that many children seem to have.

This lesson could be adapted for children to work at home by creating a piece of artwork or a poem by themselves while discussing through online classes. And speaking about fears with COVID-19.

Resources for kids

Canada Kids help phone accessible from anywhere in Canada

  • Call: 1-800-668-6868
  • Text: 686868