Connecting during Covid-19

Published March 25, 2020

I write this from my hometown of Quito, Ecuador, having come straight here after a work trip to Chile so that I could be in the same city as my family and be close to my mother and partner before the borders closed.

My colleagues are likewise working from their homes in Lima, São Paulo, London, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Mumbai and various cities in the Netherlands.

For those of us playing our part to fight the coronavirus by staying away from other people, sitting at home feels…strange. As if we couldn’t possibly be doing much. Even as crucial as the act of staying home (for those of us who are able to do so) has become.

Yet this time that many of us suddenly have more of is a precious resource. Time at home with the people we live with, and time to support our communities and the people we care for by virtual means.

Time to play with and to love the babies and toddlers in our care: what they need most to grow healthy brains and bodies. Time to send a kind word or (safely) run an errand for those faced with extra stress, anxiety and caregiving responsibilities without their usual supports.

Our ask of you:

We are gathering and sharing practical ideas on social media – from our partners and others – to support families caring for babies and toddlers during this time.

If you have ideas or resources for how families with young children can continue their play and stay mentally healthy, please share by email to info@bvleerf.nl or by tagging us on Twitter at

  • #toddlinginside and
  • #indoormentalhealth or #mentalhealth4parents

We have been deeply inspired by the community action and virtual support springing up all over the world. We may be physically distanced, but we can and must stay socially connected.

We wish everyone at home safe and healthy. And we thank the extraordinary health workers and other key workers whose essential work is keeping our society healthy and together.

Best regards on behalf of our global team,

Cecilia Vaca Jones
Executive Director
Bernard van Leer Foundation