Skip to main content

You are here:

Covid-19 – Information for children

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, would like to commend the children in Ireland for the strength and resilience they have shown during this strange time. Advice and information for children and young people struggling to understand what is happening and how to cope is available at

“The current health crisis has caused a lot of stress and anxiety for the adults in our society, particularly the older members of our community who are most at risk. It has, however, also been a very difficult time for our children whose routines have been thrown out the window and who can often pick up on the anxiety being felt by parents and those around them.

“Normally school holidays or unscheduled closures like snow days bring with them some excitement and novel activity. However, this period of school closure is very different and can be difficult for children to understand.

“Although many may be glad to be off school for a period of time, there is such uncertainty about what will happen in the coming weeks and how this will impact on exams and their future opportunities that many children and teenagers are really upset and anxious. Such anxiety can be very hard for children to cope with.

“Children and young people have taken a lot of the blame for failing to comply with guidelines on social distancing. However, reports of adults overcrowding public amenities or failing to take guidelines seriously show that we cannot point the finger at one cohort. We are all in this together.

“I have seen and heard about many teenagers going above and beyond to help neighbours and family members with no thought for praise, but rather because they understand the concept of community and their role in it. That is the behaviour we need to focus on and build into our new reality. I would encourage all of the adults to recognise the efforts being made by our youngest citizens and where possible to try to protect them from blame, strain and anxiety.

“We are asking our children to do exactly the opposite of what we would usually be encouraging them to do; we are not bringing them to training, we are not visiting grandparents, we are not allowing them to meet up with their friends, and oftentimes with no childcare we are allowing more screen time while parents work from home. Children of all ages, from the very young to teenagers are struggling to adapt to a new normal with no definite end date in sight. They should be commended for the strength and the resilience they have shown.

“It is also important to remember that while the country grapples with the emergency created by Covid-19, there are still extremely vulnerable children whose circumstances are being made even worse by the crisis. Children for whom self isolating, if required, may be nigh on impossible because of the physical set up of where they are living. For example those who are homeless, children living in Direct Provision, and Traveller and Roma children living in overcrowded, and dangerous sites. Others who will also be finding this time extremely difficult and whose vulnerabilities will be exacerbating this experience are children with disabilities whose services may be affected and children with mental health issues who may become suicidal. Finally, we must also be cognisant of the children who are living in domestic abuse situations and those whose parents or guardians are struggling with addiction.

“We cannot forget any of these children in this challenging time and I would urge every department working to come up with solutions to always ask what impact they will have on the lives of children?

“The Government is taking the necessary steps to protect the people of Ireland, and our children, from the real and present danger that is Covid-19. I extend my thanks to all of those involved in this monumental effort not just in Health but in Social Protection, Justice, Housing, Education and Children.

“The children of Ireland are doing us proud as we navigate through unchartered territory. As Ombudsman for Children, I will continue to work to ensure that the voices of children are heard and represented during this time of uncertainty brought on by an unprecedented emergency.

“The OCO has created information for children and young people offering advice and information on coronavirus. There are also a range resources and activities for children which allow them to learn about children’s rights and how rights affect their daily lives. These resources may offer some new material for parents trying to come up with different activities.”

To access the Ombudsman for Children’s Office coronavirus information and OCO activities for children visit