COVID-19 Parenting


Open-source and evidence-based playful parenting resources to support parents and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. These resources focus on building positive parent-child relationships and reducing violence against children by learning through play, reinforcing positive and managing difficult behaviours, creating structure and routines, talking about COVID-19, keeping children safe online, and reducing stress and conflict.



COVID-19 caused – and continues to cause – unprecedented stress for families: economic crisis, school closures, lockdowns, mental health distress, and consequent increased violence, with evidence showing that violence and vulnerability increase for children during periods of school closures associated with health emergencies. This project worked to address and alleviate these harsh risks and realities for children worldwide, especially families living in the most deprived and difficult contexts.

Our Response

As 1.8bn children left school in March 2020, project leads Prof Lucie Cluver and Dr Jamie Lachman brought together a network of international policy partners in child abuse prevention: UNICEF, WHO, UNODC, Global Partnership to End Violence, USAID and CDC. Working together, our existing evidence-based Parenting for Lifelong Health programmes were adapted into open-source multi-media public engagement resources, focused on concrete tips to build positive relationships, divert and manage bad behaviour, and manage parenting stress, giving families effective strategies to survive lockdown. The initial materials have been translated into over 100 languages, and expanded to a wide range of tip sheets, comic strips, audio packs for radio and public service announcements, social media messaging kits, digital apps in multiple formats, online parenting support programmes, community and caseworker templates, church leaders’ and imams’ packs, and a theme song by a Broadway producer. Importantly, these parenting resources are based on robust evidence from randomised controlled trials in low- and middle-income countries. 

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