Health and Well-Being of Indigenous Children and Youth 

Ian Reich, Public Health Manager with the Grey Bruce Health Unit has the following message for the community:

Considerations for Parents and Caregivers

We acknowledge that Indigenous families have had to alter their traditional ways of gathering and learning through celebrations, feasts and dances during COVID-19. The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health created a fact sheet to support parents and caregivers during this time of physical distancing and staying at home. 

The fact sheet provides guidance with an Indigenous focus to coping with COVID-19 in addition to practicing recommended public health measures. The following is a summary of that fact sheet, see the original resource titled Maintaining the Health and Well-Being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Teens during COVID-19 for more detailed information.

Remember to practice public health measures

  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Try not to touch your face. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Stay home when you can. 
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of 2 metres from people not from your household. 

Things to remember when speaking with children and youth about COVID-19

  • Speak kindly and repeat key ideas.
  • Allow for many questions but limit how much you say in each conversation.
  • Use credible information from trusted sources to answer questions. 
  • Focus on ways they can protect themselves and others around them.

Strategies for well-being

  • Respect guidelines about physical distancing and stay home as much as possible.
  • Refrain from gatherings and celebrations to protect Elders who are at higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing more severe consequences.
  • Find creative ways to express the importance of connections to community, culture and ceremony.
  • Explore online options with your children regarding Indigenous-specific cooking classes, workshops, concerts, books, and dances. 
  • Learn about the 4 R’s Youth Movement that is a youth-driven initiative connecting change makers across the country. 
  • Visit Connect with Culture for Life for Indigenous Youth who know the value of culture and living their best life, but need a little help getting there. 
  • Keep active in the absence of school, sports teams, and recreation centre activities. 
  • Take family walks and try to identify plants, birds, animals and local medicines.

Create an outlet for emotional expressions 

Children and youth will be missing their friends, family and regular activities. They may feel sad, lonely, or bored. They may also feel anxious, scared or worried about getting sick or passing the illness on to an Elder. How can parents and caregivers help?

  • Listen to and acknowledge your children’s worries.
  • Comfort them and help them find activities to calm their spirits like colouring, drawing, journaling, painting, breathing, meditating, or playing board games with the family. 
  • Connect through online entertainment that focuses on Indigenous games, stories and videos such as:
  • If you are concerned about your child or youth, connect to emergency services:

Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310

Teen Line at 1-800-852-8336 or text TEEN to 839863


National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous HealthMaintaining Health and Well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth during COVID-19

Assembly of First NationsCoronavirus information

First Nations Health Authority – Staying Connected during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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