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COVID-19 Resources

Parenting Through COVID-19 Video Series with

Founder and President Mary Gordon

To help parents and educators during these challenging times, and beyond.

Available in 18 languages, including seven Indigenous languages

 For subtitles in Bengali | Czech | Dutch | French
German | Korean | Indonesian | Polish | Spanish | Swahili | Tamil

Click play on the videos below and then hover your cursor on the settings icon (which looks like a gear wheel) on the bottom right of the screen. When you click the icon a menu will pop up which includes Subtitles/CC. Click on the arrow to the right and it will provide a menu of languages to choose from.

Mohawk | Ojibwe | Cree | Inuktitut | Wolastoqey | Mi’kmaq | Hawaiian
Indigenous Translations

Mary Gordon discusses the importance of resilience and how it is developed through our relationships with one another.

Intrinsic Motivation

Mary Gordon explains “intrinsic motivation”. How are children motivated? How can parents help their children to become more self-motivated?


Mary Gordon helps parents manage expectations for themselves and for their children.


Mary Gordon describes the importance of free play in childhood, and how play helps children develop important skills.

“Not Yet”

Mary Gordon explains the philosophy of “not yet” – that the timing of children’s development is unique to every child.


Mary Gordon discusses the important cognitive and emotional processing that happens when your child is sleeping.


Mary Gordon talks about the importance of friends in children’s lives and how parents can support their children as they navigate friendships during this pandemic.

School anxiety

As families prepare to send children back to school, anxiety is at a peak. Children may be anxious and parents definitely are anxious. Mary speaks to parents about the contagion of anxiety and offers guidance on how to reduce anxiety and increase confidence and resilience.

Talking to your child about racism

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests have made having conversations with your children about the state of the world essential. Mary offers support and understanding that these are difficult, awkward conversations. Parents can help children navigate the challenge and let them know there are ways through this tumultuous time – especially together.

Sharing our vulnerability

Parents are struggling during COVID-19. Mary Gordon has a message about sharing that with your children. Children know you’re feeling stressed – they’re feeling it too. Sometimes, admitting it gives them an opportunity to express their feelings too.

Parents as teachers

During this time of coronavirus, Mary Gordon offers some thoughts and comfort to parents who find themselves in the new role of “teacher” at home. As she says, your role as teacher isn’t that new. You were your child’s first teacher – and you always will be.

Reducing children’s fears in the face of COVID-19

Mary Gordon has a message for all parents, all caregivers, all of us who care for children on how to ease children’s anxieties as they watch and listen to how adults in their lives react to the coronavirus pandemic.

Roots of Empathy acknowledges the generous support of the Government of Ontario.

The Roots of Empathy Book Club

Mary Gordon helps with storytime by reading aloud some of her favourites
Daniel’s Day

Mary Gordon reads aloud her children’s story Daniel’s Day. It’s a story of a little boy who starts out with a yucky day, that just gets yuckier…and the people who help him make it better. The photo illustrations are done by Melanie Gordon, Mary’s daughter.

Read Mary's "Insights Into a Child's Day" letter to parents in Daniel's Day
Faces of Time

Mary Gordon shares her book Faces of Time. It’s for younger children who are captivated by the portraits of babies, all of whom come from Métis, First Nations, and Inuit heritage. Each page has one word, in English, Cree Syllabics, Mohawk and Inuktitut. Mary reads the messages that inspired each word.

How the Roots of Empathy babies are doing

Parents have been sending in photos and videos of their tiny teachers to update their students on milestones – from crawling, to teething, to new foods – but mostly because they miss them.

Here’s a sample.
An update from Baby Andi’s parents:

“We were one of the Roots of Empathy babies in Alberta this school year! Just wanted to share a little update of our “Tiny Teacher” to our friends in Mrs. Gale’s Grade One class in Cold Lake, AB!

Andi just turned 7 months old and since our last classroom visit, she has already changed so much.

She is now sleeping in her own room at night, eating lots of different solid foods and loves meal time with her family, she has started to wave hello, and sits up all by herself!

We really miss all our friends from school and hope they are all enjoying this extra time at home with their own families, Andi sure is loving her time home with us!”

Check out more baby updates here

What I’ll tell my daughter about the year 2020

This will lift your spirits.

Katharine Reid writes a letter to her baby, a Roots of Empathy tiny teacher, describing this extraordinary moment in time as we all stay home. As Katharine writes, social isolation comes with challenges, and yes, joys. Thank you, Katharine, for this beautiful letter in She Does The City Life Stories.

“Hi baby,

Things are a little weird right now. Our world, as we know it, has changed.

You just turned 10 months old, during a global pandemic. We are in social isolation. You will not see your grandparents, cousins or aunts and uncles in person again until you are at least one year old (and probably more). We won’t be going to the library, the bakery, the park.

You’re walking now and you’ve had plenty of time to work on your cool new skill while hanging around the house. Your favourite thing to do is walk across the room, arms stretched towards me, and throw yourself into my arms.

You’re so good at making people happy. You even have a job doing just that…” read more…

Mary Gordon wrote her book Roots of Empathy – Changing the world child by child to help everyone who cares for children know how important those first years are to a child’s health and well-being. It might change your perspective on parenting. You can read the first chapter free. And enjoy. To buy the book, please visit our bookstore.