COVID, Mental Health and Parenting Resources

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Practical Help & Advice

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?

Many children, parents and families are under stress as a result of COVID-19. The state of CT has set up a website and 24-hour hotline to help you with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, family conflicts, etc.

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.

Parenting In A Pandemic: Tips To Keep The Calm At Home

5 Mental Health Tips for Kids This Winter

Originally Posted on November 24, 2020 By: Melissa Santos, PhD on ConnecticutChildrens.org

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

This content is provided by ConnecticutChildrens.org 

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.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

 

Free, Confidential Support for Families Experiencing Domestic Violence

For families experiencing domestic violence, Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center shares how to get help.

Learn More

 

Managing Family Stress During COVID-19

For help managing stress – your child’s, and your own – Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center experts provide advice.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

 

Is Your Child Struggling With Germ Phobia During COVID-19?

We’re all concerned about getting sick right now. But if your child has an intense fear of germs, and trouble functioning at school or at home because of it, they may be dealing with some degree of germ phobia. Pediatric psychologist Melissa Santos, PhD, shares tips to support them.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

 

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.

Learn More

Yale Child Study Family Resources and Suggestions for Coping with Coronavirus

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

Meri Cherry
Process art projects and activities for kids

The Artful Parent
Spring activities for kids

Mo Willems
(author of the popular “Elephant & Piggie” and “Pigeon” series)
Daily live doodle with kids

Arts and Culture
Museum tours and more

McHarper Manor
Art classes online

Lani Rosen (local yoga instructor)
Free online yoga classes for children and families twice daily

Yoga Online
Free yoga classes

 

BOARD & CARD GAMES

  • Checkers
  • Candyland
  • Chutes & Ladders
  • Uno
  • War
  • Sorry
  • Chess
  • Zingo
  • Jenga
  • Monopoly

Chesapeake Family Ideas

Travel & Leisure Virtual Tours

BOOKS & STORYTELLING

Inclusive Storytime
Information about picture books with characters as well as authors and illustrations with diverse backgrounds

For purchase

Stories from Space
Features videos and access to books

Storyline Online
Children’s stories read by famous people

Front Range
Downloadable Library Options to borrow books

Mindheart COVIBOOK
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

Spatulatta
Cooking with children

 

COOKING ACTIVITIES & INSPIRATION

Playdough Recipes
Original recipe

Gluten Free recipe

Slime Recipe

 

COOL SITES, PODCASTS & APPS

PBS Kids
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

Anti-Coloring Book info & app

5 scavenger hunts with free printables

8 sorting activities with things you likely have at home

Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing

Foundational preschool skills

Foundational preschool skills 2

 

MEDIA GUIDES

Expert reviews, objective advice & helpful tools

Child Study Center Social Work Fellows
Website of activities related to nature that can be done at home either inside or