7 Things Some Amazing Children Are Doing to Feel Empowered Instead of Panicked During COVID

how kids are helping during covid

When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and the world went into lockdown, I felt panicked inside. I felt like the walls were closing in on me. Like I was trapped in a vice and being squeezed from both sides. My kids were home from school and struggling to learn online. They couldn’t see their friends and all their extracurriculars were cancelled. I remember waiting in an endless line on a cold day to buy groceries, only to find that half the things I needed—sugar, flour, toilet paper—were already sold out. The dog parks were locked. Even Starbucks was closed.

I felt helpless and hopeless.

Until one day I was asked by a publisher if I’d be interested in writing a picture book about how kids around the world helped others during the pandemic. Of course I said yes! I started scouring the internet for good news stories. What I found was surprising. I discovered there were kids as young as six who were helping others and making a big difference despite their small size. I found kids from Canada and in far away continents who didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of raising money, making neighbours smile, or helping out in some way. I set to working on the book and I was on a mission to tell these kids’ stories and share hope and inspiration with others.

Now, with the third wave upon us, I’m able to think differently and live more positively than I was able to manage during the first wave. And it’s all thanks to the kids I learned about.

If you also felt paralyzed by fear during the first wave, why not feel empowered this time around by finding creative ways to help others? After all, there’s nothing more uplifting than brightening someone’s day or contributing in some way. Here are some ideas inspired by the kids I learned about while researching my new picture book, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19.

1. Head to the kitchen. Two inspiring girls were part of a group that created a cookbook featuring dishes you could make with foods you already had in your home. They turned leftover roast chicken into chicken soup and overripe fruit into smoothie bowls. By using food in your fridge, you can save money and avoid trips to the grocery store. By selling their book online, they also raised money to feed hungry animals at the Toronto Zoo at a time when nobody was able to buy admission. Can you share recipes, deliver groceries or drop a meal off to someone who can’t get to the store often? What about donating to a food bank?

2. Make someone laugh. A young boy in British Columbia set up a joke stand at the end of his driveway. He told jokes to everyone passing by. Of course, people thought it was cute and stopped at a safe distance to say hello and share jokes of their own. Before long, the story made the news, and even fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds commended him on social media. Is there a way you can brighten someone’s day in a safe way? Why not make a call on Facetime or tell a joke of your own to someone who needs a pick-me-up? Laughter is the best medicine.

3. Get to know your community. A boy in Australia created a newsletter called the Isolation Times. He shared recipes, told jokes and profiled different neighbours. Then he printed copies and delivered them to everyone on his street. The newsletter was put on hold when he returned to school, but people loved feeling like part of a community. Do you know your neighbours? Why not reach out to those who live nearby and see if you can help out in some way?

4. Play music. During the first wave, the internet was full of inspiring music videos—and I’m not talking about anything on MTV. There were kids in Italy who played the violin from their living room and a high school choir in California who went virtual with an a cappella version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A boy in New Jersey played trumpet outside a veteran’s home and a girl in Toronto was part of an orchestra that sold tickets to their virtual concert and raised money for children in Africa. Music has the power to inspire and uplift. If you play an instrument, why not have a jam session on your front porch or at a local park, just to make others smile? Even playing for yourself can be fun.

5. Surprise someone who’s lonely. Thirteen-year-old twins in PEI enjoyed crafting, so every Friday, they would create everything from lawn signs to bird houses and deliver them to neighbours. The gesture was so meaningful that neighbours began to look forward to their special deliveries. Can you surprise someone somehow? A little gift can go a long way.

6. Teach online. During my research, I found a teen in Ohio who taught karate to seniors online during the pandemic. I found a girl who was part of a fitness fundraiser and got people off their couches for a good cause. There was even a dance troupe who raised money to support COVID efforts at a Toronto hospital. Fitness makes us feel good. Can you start a running group or even help walk dogs in your area? What about working out with a friend online? Sometimes having a buddy helps motivate us.

7. Go high-tech. I found several stories of kids who used their 3-D printers to print face shields for hospital workers. One boy even used his 3-D printer to invent a device to help people open doors and press buttons without having to touch anything. Another child created a virtual graduation ceremony on Minecraft so all his friends could celebrate the milestone together. If technology is your thing, how can you use for the greater good?

What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 is available as an ebook and in print and can be purchased wherever books are sold.




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