The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated lockdowns, school closures, physical distancing and loss of familiar environments. The restriction on movement, disruption of routines, curtailment of social interactions and deprivation of traditional learning methods has led to increased pressure, stress and anxiety for young people, their families and communities. Parents and adult care-givers are struggling to meet the challenges of home schooling while juggling work and community obligations, caring for family members and maintaining individual well-being. Teachers are having to rapidly adapt to new and untested teaching methods. Young people are concerned about their education as national examinations are cancelled and are grappling with the insecurity of isolation and uncertainty. In poor households where income is a first priority, children are left on their own to home school or are pulled into other tasks. The stress and anxiety of the pandemic is compounded by the circulation of dynamic information - both accurate and false, often fuelled by sensationalist media reporting. This not only increases insecurity but also acts as fertile ground for the spread of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and hate crimes. To address and counter the social anxiety, emotional upheaval and fearful insecurity unleashed by COVID-19, it is urgent and necessary that families and communities build vital coping skills and emotional resilience. Social and emotional skills are well established, evidence-based practices, that can be adapted to help equip children, young people, parents and teachers with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours they need to stay healthy and positive, navigate emotions, practice mindful engagement, exhibit pro-social behaviour and cope with daily challenges.