A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development

The global response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed daily life in many ways for many people. Yet child development has not paused, and supporting children, families, and care providers of all kinds is as important as ever. In this guide, the Center on the Developing Child has gathered a number of resources and recommendations to help you through this challenging time. This guide pulls together information on COVID-19, what it means for child development, and easy-to-share resources that can help parents and caregivers, as well as child care providers, pediatricians, and others who work with families.

Resources and Guides

Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World

Over this past year, the devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities.

Q&A: The Coronavirus Pandemic: Mental Health One Year Later

How have mental health concerns changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began one year ago? In this Q&A, Dr. Basu and Dr. Koenen describe the mental health challenges that lie ahead and what we can do to support one another.

Thinking About Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Impacts Through a Science-Informed, Early Childhood Lens

black and white stethoscope (Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash)

The COVID-19 virus is ruthlessly contagious and, at the same time, highly selective. Its capacity to infect is universal, but the consequences of becoming infected are not.

Building Responsive Relationships Remotely

How do we maintain and promote responsive relationships during the coronavirus pandemic? We reached out to care providers and others on the frontline of the early childhood development field to learn how they are building relationships with families from afar. Here are some tips they provided that may help you navigate remote interactions during this time.

How to Help Families and Staff Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Mother holding baby, holding him outside

What can we do to build up and strengthen resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak? How can we build resilience to plan ahead for future times of crisis? This resource, with practical tips and suggestions, presents three science-based ways that we can help tip the resilience scale for families and program staff.

How to Support Children (and Yourself) During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Two boys look out a window (Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash)

Even during this uncertain time, it’s a sure thing that our children are still learning, growing, and developing. But, supporting a child’s healthy development can be simple and free! (And, it may even help relieve your stress.) Here are four steps to focus on right now.

COVID-19 Resources

Coronavirus molecule (Photo by CDC on Unsplash)

From child care, to health care, to home-based activities, to policy, find an assortment of links both to Center content, as well as other organizations’ resources that can be of use at this unprecedented time.

What Is COVID-19? And How Does It Relate to Child Development?

Detail of the first panel of the

This infographic explains the basics of what COVID-19 is, and what it can mean for stress levels in both children and the adults who care for them. It also offers some easy and concrete solutions to help caregivers ensure that both they and the children they care for don’t experience long-term effects of stress.

Stress, Resilience, and the Role of Science: Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Jack Shonkoff discussing science-based innovation

This statement from Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., discusses two lessons we’ve already learned about child development from this pandemic.

Podcast Episodes

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Creating Communities of Opportunity

Aerial view of a neighborhood with houses, trees, parks, and streets (Photo by Brandon Jacoby on Unsplash)

While the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us, it isn’t affecting all of us equally. In this episode, Dr. David Williams discusses ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is particularly affecting people of color in the U.S., and what that can mean for early childhood development.

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: A Different World

Man sitting in a chair reading to a baby sitting on his lap. (Photo by nappy from Pexels)

In the first episode of this special series on COVID-19, Center Director Dr. Jack Shonkoff discusses how to support healthy child development during a pandemic, including the importance of caring for caregivers.

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Young girl wearing face mask receives a vaccination

In the second episode, Dr. Rahil Briggs, National Director of ZERO TO THREE’s HealthySteps program, discusses the current state of pediatrics, and why caregiver health is child health.

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Domestic Violence and Shelter-In-Place

Person sitting with arms crossed and head down leaning up against a wall

Shelter-in-place orders are meant to help protect our communities from the current coronavirus pandemic. But for some people, home isn’t always a safe place. Dr. Tien Ung discusses what options are available to help people stay both physically healthy and safe from violence.

The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health in a Locked-Down World

Woman having a telemedicine call with a therapist

This episode of The Brain Architects addresses mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including what supporting your own mental health can look like, as well as ways to support children you care for at this time.

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