Parent & Child Emotional Survival Toolkit
Our goal is to provide emotional support and positive experiences to uplift you and your children as you deal with the pressures of COVID time.
Below we’ve assembled a toolkit of meaningful and mostly free and entertaining videos, games, apps and programs from respected sources. They cover every age up to 18.
Your children and you can learn effective ways of relating to yourselves and others that includes how to manage painful reactions, better cope with adversity, and create a happier, healthier mood in your home now and long-term.
There are many smart and effective tools
to relieve parent and child emotional stress from the COVID crisis.
We've curated many of the best for you.
U.S. children seriously stressed by the pandemic (Global Strategy Group)
U.S. adults whose mental health is impacted by the pandemic
(U.S. Census Bureau)
School-aged kids who have seriously considered suicide
(Youth Risk Behavior Survey)
Click the button below to view the toolkit PDF, or scroll down to view toolkit items.
For parents seeking guidance on preventing or transforming racial prejudice,
go to 21 Videos About Racial Prejudice to Share With Kids.
Who It Helps and How It Helps
The Toolkit is meant for all families – whether you’re feeling deep distress, managing confidently or are at any point between these extremes. As a parent, you may be distressed over financial pressures, trying to work from home while also caring for your children, angered or feeling depressed or isolated yourself. Rifts between couples feeling “caged” and parents and children can arise. In fact, for most of us, emotions can change from day to day, even hour to hour.
Children’s emotions also vary greatly and can be activated by seeing fear or anger in their parents, by disruption in their regular routines and favorite activities, and by isolation from other kids. Normally easy-going, good-natured kids can experience tantrums, anxiety, depression or rebellion. This just adds to the stress parents already feel.
You will find this Toolkit a helpful resource to enhance family fun and relationships at a difficult time – helpful also to build new skills for yourself and your children in managing emotions and in relating well with others – immensely valuable every single day.
You Can Teach Happiness – It’s Called Social-Emotional Learning
That’s the term educators use for what the Toolkit provides – teaching children the emotional intelligence (EQ) and social skills to manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, create and maintain healthy relationships, solve problems and make responsible decisions – all necessary to excel in school, life and work and to be one’s best self at any age.
EQ skills enable us to change reactiveness and conflict into caring, creativity and productivity.
Children learn how to create positive relationships and behaviors – within themselves and with others. Research on school-adoption of social-emotional curriculum has consistently shown tremendous positive student and school outcomes when children master EQ skills, as well as greatly enhanced potential of life success and happiness through adulthood.
Getting Your Schools Involved
If your school is providing digital education in academics, we encourage you to ask the school to include EQ skills lessons. Just as important, insist that when your school reopens that it includes proven social-emotional learning curriculum. We know that uncertainty will continue and there will be much that has changed when kids get back to school. These skills will be more important than ever.
The bigger picture is that the best school and life outcome for your child and all children is to be in a school in which all kids learn these skills and then relate to each other and life itself in the co-creative, high-performing, collaborative, caring and happiness-making ways this learning provides.
We are deeply grateful to the educators and child development experts who created these learning practices and then created the movement within the education community to promote them. It holds the promise of tremendous positive outcomes for children, families, communities, workplaces and global society.
Share This With Parents and Families You Know
We encourage sharing this resource widely. For businesses and organizations, sharing this link would be a goodwill gesture toward employees and other stakeholders, including customers and suppliers. You would be following the good example of Kaiser and Los Angeles City youth and family services, among others that are sharing this link, in helping make a real difference to stressed parents and children.
To get an idea of the types of resources available, click these samples.
EQuip Our Kids! Survival Kit
Free. From the NBC network, a thoughtful and attractive assemblage of print and video resources along with links to helpful other websites (some also listed here). With parent guidance added by NBC. Covers all pre-schoolers and grades. English and Spanish.
Free. Primarily for pre-school and younger. Covers six different areas of child development and parent-child interaction in a combination of well-tested readable materials and some videos. The readables can be viewed by downloading a free Adobe Reader or with PowerPoint. In both English and Spanish.
Jessie Lewis Choose Love
Free. Offers programs from toddler to grade 12. Mostly videos for home viewing with print materials and practice exercises. Offers special programs for coronavirus time. Founded by Sandy Hook mother Scarlett Lewis who determined that the young man who killed her son and 19 other children would not have had he experienced SEL curriculum. She then decided to bring experts together to create programs that could be easily taught, with teachers or parents learning as they shared rather than needing to take initial training themselves. Visit website or text SEL to 484848 to sign up for 90 days of SEL skills and tools texts.
Free. For Ages 2 to 8. A treasure trove of games, TV shows, apps, activities and coloring books. In four umbrella categories: Emotions & Self-Awareness, Social Skills, Character, and Literacy. Collectively, these include most subsets of emotional and relationship intelligence familiar to teachers of social-emotional curriculum and play.
PBS Sesame Street
Free. Sesame Street offers a collection of short videos for grades Pre-K to 1. In its Sesame Street way, these deal with child emotional and social skills development. They cover issues such as emotional awareness, managing tough feelings, perseverance, patience, conflict resolution, and the like. These videos don’t provide the deeper practice and teaching experiences offered by other sources listed here. They do, however, plant good seeds in a child’s awareness and developing value system.
Kids in the House
Mixes free elements with pay-for content. A gigantic site of resources – articles, videos and other media – covering an extensive variety of parenting situations at home. Its online store focuses on child products, from toys to strollers to baby watch cameras. Has extensive at-home social-emotional learning offerings in videos, print, and other formats (possibly the biggest such library online). Has an Experts-to-Hire directory and a live TV show. Covers birth through teens but not in each offering section.
Free. This is parent/child social-emotional learning in three different age categories: 0 to 12 months, 12 to 24 months and 24 to 36 months. Offers plentiful skills and mindsets curriculum that parents can teach their children. Also provides guidance for parents in dealing with other elements of their child’s development and family life (with some bonus guidance for grandparents). Has a coronavirus help section.
Free offerings and paid classes. Strongly focused on adults and parents developing their own emotional intelligence along with how to teach it to children, up through their teens. One of the pioneer program developers in the field with a broad international reach. Relies primarily on videos and live online classes, including a current series tackling the pressures of the coronavirus era (for which it’s charging half normal price of $7.50). Has certificate training programs in EQ for teachers, coaches, and consultants.
Free. One of the more delightful and useful collection of mostly short animated videos for toddlers through K-5. Covers several SEL areas including emotions and emotional intelligence, communications and listening skills along with such topics as critical thinking, bullying and screen addiction. Plus offers some fun interactive games.
Free videos for parents and curriculum teaching basic emotional life skills for ages 4 to 11 in fun and clever gaming ways. Builds skills in a step-by-step process with short videos and engaging interactive activities. Students earn online games, cards, and prizes as they advance. Coordinated printables, cards, and certificates allow for offline activities. Mostly used by schools but now parents have free access.
Free for your first 30 days. A program for 7-12 year-olds adopted in a number of schools and chapters of Boys and Girls Club, among others. Elements that work at home are now available for families. The umbrella subject matters, “Overcoming Fear” and “Love in Action,” cover a lot of SEL territory with videos, print materials and art guidance. Also offer an adult section with videos covering emotional triggers and what they call “7 Levels of Energy,” plus a 5-minute mediation and a 5-minute breathing exercise to relieve stress.
Free. Among the more successful in-school social-emotional learning curriculum providers; adopted by many schools. Offers an ongoing new series of webinars for parenting in the coronavirus era. Also is developing a home parenting social-emotional learning website section drawing on its popular in-school programs.
Zip Zap Zop Entertainment
Asks for donations. Unique in that its core offering are improv games embedded with emotional intelligence and social skills learning. Offers live sessions as well as many video examples of games parents can play with kids or show children how to play. Strong also for Autism kids. Now mounting Zoom half-hour classes Mondays through Saturdays for kids 7-13. Signups at this link: https://www.cognitoforms.com/ZipZapZopEnrichment1/ZipZapZopVirtualRecess
Free mostly, with $3 fee for some learning access. Primarily an after-school and teacher-development curriculum serving low-income students in four Southern cities for 24 years and now in expansion mode. Has now created a resource base for parents drawing on its long experience and successes with social emotional learning and behavioral tools. Offers several videos, books, art, activities along with “table-talk guidance” for grades K-2 and 3-5.
Common Sense Media
Free. A website of curated media offerings for children from a variety of creators, with a keen eye for social-emotional learning contexts. Covers recommendations of movies, TV, apps, games and books. Also offers substantial readable guidance for parents on managing the media use and media literacy of their children, which differs with the child’s age. Has a coronavirus section. English and Spanish.
Free. Second Step is schools curriculum created by Committee for Children which has been popular among SEL-oriented schools for many years. Families (and educators) can now access Second Step Emotional Management lessons for early learners and Grades K–5 as their response to home confinement. Videos and Lesson Guides feature Committee for Children experienced teachers and counselors. Will soon launch an SEL training for adults (see https://www.secondstepsela.org/).
The Mother Company / Ruby’s Studio
Free and in English and Spanish. The Mother Company is parent to the Emmy-award winning Ruby’s Studio, a playful children’s TV show designed to nurture social and emotional learning in young children. In each episode, show host Ruby welcomes children to her art studio for a day of fun and learning. Now airing on American Public Television and available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes; also on DVD or downloads from the Ruby’s Studio online store.
Free guidance videos and webinars mostly for educators and secondarily for parents but with new and solidly helpful webinars and YouTube videos covering emotionally intelligent parenting in this confined-to-home time. These are led by Ronan Habib, a professional social-emotional learning instructor for teachers.
Free and paid. The free are guidance articles on loads of parenting issues, with easy-to-grasp titles like “20 Ways to Help Your Kid Defuse Their Anger.” Also offers a free app for children that playfully helps them learn elements of social and emotional skills. The paid is a series of fun, delightful, well-produced song videos (with some dance) that cleverly teach aspects of social and emotional development.
Free. Famous for its easy to grasp and often playful ways of teaching core subjects and inspiring interest in other learning, both in schools and at home. Khan Academy also embeds social emotional learning in its daily class structure and has a section of its free app for home use devoted to the subject. Dominantly ages 2 to 7. Available in many languages, including English and Spanish.
Free. Basically, a mental health and wellness website for adults that offers what it calls an Emotional Intelligence Toolkit that parents will find helpful in managing themselves. It’s well done guidance that includes such topics as quick stress relief, improving emotional intelligence, and building better mental health.
Free and paid. A playfully presented collection of videos (“3 Little Pigs Yoga,” as one example) guiding yoga sessions for kids, along with yoga games, mindfulness for kids videos, and readable parent guidance. There is an app available containing much of their offerings. The parenting section provides helpful blogs covering home teaching of gratitude, compassion, positivity and relaxation.
Free during this pandemic. Excellent resource for home-confined youth of all pen pal ages. They get to learn EQ skills while writing to international pen pals and learning about other cultures and lives. Provides guides to these skills. Covers respect, empathy, self-awareness, collaboration, self-motivation, social engagement, identifying problems, analyzing situations, ethical responsibility and international mindedness.
Life’s Good / Discovery Education
Free. Life’s Good is a website devoted to happiness and the tools to get there. The expanded Parenting Section, promoted in partnership with Discovery Education (a division of the TV channel) features downloadable PDFs with a few solid interactive SEL exercises and one fun game. Target is grades 7-12 though younger kids might participate in some of these exercises. Discovery offers home usage exercises in critical thinking, science and nature learning, wellness (including elements of EQ and SEL), and virtual field trips for k-12.
Primarily a digital curriculum on an online app that includes interactive content, games, videos, narrated slides, quizzes and assessments. Content covers what many SEL educators call the “core competencies.” These include emotional awareness and management, establishing and maintaining positive relationships with others, and making responsible decisions, among other life success skills. Price for its major program is $119.99. Other offerings start at $9.99.
Treat Yourself Like Someone You Love
Free and paid. Adam Roa offers podcasts, videos, books, and more filled with tools, insights, and personal experiences related to cultivating a more loving approach to you. Adam is a sought-after speaker, personal coach, spoken word poet, and musician.
Free. CharacterLab offers tips and playbooks to help parents and educators model, celebrate, and enable in others character traits such as grit, gratitude, and self-control. Founded and led by Angela Duckworth, leading researcher, MacArthur Fellow, and bestselling author of Grit.
Mind Brain Parenting
Affordable, card-based games for building life skills through conversations and relationships. Games are researched-based and suitable for home and classroom. Website included suggested lessons and activities. For ages 5 and up.
Kids Bedtime Tools for Covid-19
Free and paid. Slumber Yard has assembled a list of 19 wellness tools to help kids unwind and de-stress for naps and bedtime. Providers include Headspace and PBS, with storytellers like Goldie Hawn and Patrick Steward. Choose from programs for meditation, mindfulness, story time, bedtime routines, and white noise.
Hustle U Homeschool
$149 to enroll. Hustle U Homeschool is an online portal created to support the social-emotional needs of students and their families at home. Lessons are designed to provide hours of culturally relevant activities that the entire household can enjoy together.
Project Oty: Build YOUR Road https://www.projectoty.com/
Paid. Workbook and courses designed to help empower high school students with confidence and focus. Students learn to organize their thoughts and create their purpose. Students are introduced to 21st century skills empowering them to manage today’s world.
Free. These games cover four different categories of social-emotional learning – social awareness, self-management, active listening and collaboration. Read the brief instructions and play.
Paid. These are emotionally specific holdable or cuddle figures and pillows combined with some guidance on how best to use them while playing games with your children or while seeking to teach them to know and understand their feelings.
EQtainment’s “Race to the Top”
A clever board game with action cards that require various actions and emotional awareness sharings for kids 4 to 11. For background: unreasonablegroup.com/companies/eqtainment/
Free. WHY Music offers 21 Ways to Create Joy With Music, an ultimate COVID-19 music resource full of exercises and suggestions for parents and kids to connect more deeply at home and online in fun and meaningful ways using music, to help them manage stress and bring more joy into their lives and relationships at a time when many are extremely challenged.
Why Music is an ongoing initiative to provide people with the awareness, understanding and tools to harness the powerful benefits of music in all the areas of their lives.
Five Incredibly Fun Ways to Teach Self-Regulation
Free. Very clever and easy-to-digest animated video featuring interactive games with titles like Red Light/Green Light, The Freeze Game, and Wacky Relay. Among positive learnings are resisting impulses/temptations, breaking a bad habit, and listening.
Shadows Edge https://www.shadowsedge.com/
Free. Donations accepted. Shadow’s Edge is the first FREE self-help mobile game designed for teens and young adults to tap into their healing power of self-expression. Players travel through a storm-ravaged city, collecting the scattered pages of a lost journal. Through journaling and art, players’ self-expression help bring the city back from disaster.