Lead teacher Crystal Sierra gets the attention of most of the remaining students, about a third of the normal number of kids, while trying to get an art project underway at Small Marvels preschool, March 17, 2020, Tucson, Ariz.

Among the list of things that many of us raising children never thought we'd have to navigate? A global pandemic that would completely change our lives.

And yet here we are, and — for whoever needs to hear this — you're doing a great job!

This week has been full of several changes impacting children's lives with general fears and concerns about the coronavirus swirling around, social distancing measures in place and school closures that will last for at least three more weeks. 

University of Arizona faculty and researchers have quickly assembled lots of resources and shared their expertise to help parents through these challenging times. 

A team of faculty, staff and students from the UA's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health put together an online toolkit for parents, teachers and school staff to use with children in kindergarten to fifth grade to explain COVID-19; understand what's happening; and stay safe and healthy.

For parents, the toolkit includes a downloadable comic book; steps for having a conversation with children about the virus and how to talk to them about it; tips for dealing with stress; and important information from the CDC.

For teachers, there is also grade appropriate curriculum materials to use with the comic book. 

"My daughter came home with a cold, and she asked if she had coronavirus and if she was going to die," Patricia Haynes said in a news release. Haynes is an associate professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, clinical psychologist for the Tucson Fire Department and leader of the team that created the toolkit.

Find the toolkit here

"Kids are getting media messages whether or not we're aware, and parents are having a lot of alarming conversations at home with unintentional consequences. I realized we needed a guide to help adults have factual conversations with kids so that they understand what's going on and don't feel scared," Haynes said.

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