This year in particular has been extremely stressful on so many levels.
On this page, there is a large variety of subject matter, resources, links and videos which address all ages from young children to teens.
We hope this list of recommendations and resources helps you to more easily navigate these challenging times.
Mental Health Concerns for You or Your Children?
NAMI – The National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Many families have found this site to be a fabulous resource with online support groups, family training classes, general mental health resources/information and more.
For more information, please visit NAMI.org.
Recommended Parenting Strategies
This web site offers several options for learning the popular, practical and highly effective Kazdin Method of parenting. As the site says, “Even if you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing works, your life with your child can be much easier”.
There are books, videos and free courses which can be accessed directly from the site.
5 Mental Health Tips for Kids This Winter
Winter darkness and colder weather can cause your child’s mood and health habits to take a dive. To help, start with the basics!
Connecticut Children’s pediatric psychologist Melissa Santos, PhD, shares her top five tips.
1. Eat right.
Make it easy for yourself: Decide on a meal prep day for your family and spend time together trying new recipes and making sure your fridge is ready to make it easy to eat right.
2. Keep moving.
The winter months can make it so hard to get moving, which can take a toll on mood. Take time each day to do something to move your body – start your day with yoga, have a dance party with your family, get out for a hike on the weekends or just use your phone or tracker to get your steps in.
3. Watch your sleep.
Is there anything better than waking up all curled up under the covers on a cold winter morning? It’s so easy to sleep in. But we want to make sure kids aren’t getting too little – or too much – sleep.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually “catch up” on sleep. So focus on helping your child fall asleep and wake up at around the same time every day. If they have problems falling asleep, consider an app like Sleep Bug, which has lots of different sound effects to encourage sleep.
4. Get some sunlight.
Humans are basically houseplants with emotions – and they need sun. Getting out in those rare daylight hours is so important to lifting our mood and getting good vitamins!
5. Build in extra mood-boosters.
Since darkness and cold weather can easily impact mood, it’s important to be proactive in wintertime about building mood-boosters into your child’s day. When in doubt, have your child create a “mood jar”: Fill a jar with written reminders of things that always give their mood a lift – an activity, a memory, whatever. Go to the jar when they need a mood boost!
As always, if you’re concerned about your child’s health (or your own), please talk to your doctor. We’re here to help!
Behavioral Health Kit
Lots of kids need help right now, but don’t know how to ask. Our pediatric experts share ways to support your child’s mental and emotional well-being every single day – from what to do when they’re struggling to how to build positive habits for a lifetime.
For support navigating mental health supports and resources, contact Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination at 860.837.6200.
If you feel your child is in crisis, or a danger to themselves or others, call 911. In Connecticut, you can also call 211 for emergency or crisis intervention. For free, confidential support from the National Suicide Prevention Life Line, call 1.800.273.8255 or text “HOME” to 741741.
The Best Way to Prevent Youth Suicide? Talk About It
Youth suicide has been on the rise – and with the stress of the pandemic, suicide prevention is more important than ever. Dr. Steven Rogers, medical director of Emergency Behavioral Health services, shares important tips.
Growing Resilient: What Your Child Needs to Get Through Tough Times
Despite how toxic the stress surrounding COVID-19 can be, there is good news: We can help our kids be resilient, even during these unusual (and surreal) times.
Signs Your Child Might Be Depressed or Anxious – and What to Do Next
If you’re wondering how you’ll know when your child needs extra help – whether it’s from a counselor or physician, or just more support at home – read this.
Self-Care for Kids: 4 Strategies to Help Your Child Manage Stress
Even when they’re sad, stressed or frustrated, kids can learn to trust that they’ll eventually feel better, and how to take care of themselves until they do.
Mindfulness for Kids: 12 Calming Exercises to Teach Your Child
Mindfulness helps focus and soothe a worried mind, and makes it easier for kids to control how they react to stress long-term. It’s an important key to resilience.
Is Your Teen Stressed, Sad or Angry? They May Be Feeling Grief
Many teens right now are feeling anxious and depressed – and a kind of grief. Pediatric psychologists Kelly Maynes, PsyD, and Lauren K. Ayr-Volta, PhD, give advice on how parents can support them.
Free, Confidential Support for Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
For families experiencing domestic violence, Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center shares how to get help.
Autism and Anxiety: How to Support Kids on the Spectrum
For kids, teens and young adults on the autism spectrum – who usually do best with predictable routines and concrete information – this time may be especially stressful. Pediatric psychologist Amy Signore, PhD, MPH, provides strategies to help.
When Your Child Is Anxious, Try a Coping Toolbox!
Coping toolboxes use all five senses to reduce anxiety and boost positive emotions. They’re great for all ages (including parents). Directions on how to make one.
Who to Contact When Your Child Needs Behavioral Health Support
Anxiety. Eating disorders. Suicidal thoughts. Uncontrollable aggression. No matter what your child or family may be dealing with, it’s important to remember that you are not alone – and that there are resources to help.
Yale Child Study Family Resources and Suggestions for Coping with Coronavirus
TALKING WITH CHILDREN
The National Association of School Psychologists
Guide for parents addressing talking to children and creating structure and predictability for daily life at home, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, Korean, French, and Vietnamese
World Health Organization
Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCov outbreak (PDF)
Child Mind Institute
Talking with Kids About the Coronavirus
Child Mind Institute
Supporting Kids During the Covid-19 Crisis
Child Mind Institute
How to Avoid Passing Anxiety on to Your Kids
Child Mind Institute
How Can We Help Kids with Transitions?
Child Mind Institute
When Siblings Won’t Stop Fighting
The American Academy of Child Psychiatry
14 Tips for Talking to Children (PDF)
Answers Adults Can Offer to Answer Common Questions Children May Ask
RESOURCES TO SHARE WITH CHILDREN
Information Language for Talking to Kids about Coronavirus
Links to Television episodes that address different aspects of health
Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development
Resources for young children and children with developmental disabilities
- How to talk to your child with ASD about frightening situations
- Flu picture story (PDF)
- Visual supports: Social Story about not sharing germs (PDF)
- Visual supports: Hand-washing steps (PDF)
Science Podcast for Kids
Explains Coronavirus for kids, available in English and Spanish
Free children’s book in Spanish
To help children and adults talk about Coronavirus (with useful parent guide)
ACTIVITIES FOR AT HOME LEARNING
Khan Academy Offers school closure resources; wide range of learning activities
Prodigy Math games
Mystery Doug K-5 Science lessons
Nitro Type Online typing game
Typing Club Online typing instruction
History for Kids Free history network for kids
Scholastic Fun online learning for pre-k through grade six and beyond
Virtual field trips Virtual tours of 12 museums
NASA Kids Club Grade k- 12 activities
Starfall Pre k-3 literacy and math For struggling/ reluctant readers
Kids National Geographic Fun learning activities
Into the Book Fun reading strategies
Seussville Reading/ games/ videos
Highlights Learning games and apps
Storyline Online Children's literacy website
ART ACTIVITIES & INSPIRATION
Process art projects and activities for kids
The Artful Parent
Spring activities for kids
(author of the popular “Elephant & Piggie” and “Pigeon” series)
Daily live doodle with kids
Arts and Culture
Museum tours and more
Art classes online
Lani Rosen (local yoga instructor)
Free online yoga classes for children and families twice daily
Free yoga classes
BOARD & CARD GAMES
- Chutes & Ladders
BOOKS & STORYTELLING
Information about picture books with characters as well as authors and illustrations with diverse backgrounds
Stories from Space
Features videos and access to books
Children’s stories read by famous people
Downloadable Library Options to borrow books
Printable activities in several languages
Children’s Psychological Health Center
Guided activity workbooks
People Get Ready Book Store
9:00 a.m. Daily live children’s books readings
Cooking with children
COOKING ACTIVITIES & INSPIRATION
COOL SITES, PODCASTS & APPS
English and Spanish ages 4-7- games/ videos/ learning activities
Wow in the World Podcast
Journey into the wonders of the world
CALM Meditation App
Guided meditations, stories, music & more
Child Study Center Social Work Fellows
Website of activities related to nature that can be done at home either inside or