- NPR: Link : A comic for kids explaining the coronavirus.
- Town of Wakefield: Link : Local COVID-19 updates
- Child Mind Institute: Link : Talking to Kids about the coronavirus
- Brain Pop: Link : Coronavirus Specific activities
- Judge Baker Children's Center: Link: Resources for families during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Common Sense Media: Link : Help your family de-stress during coronavirus uncertainty
- Arlington Public Schools: Link : Mental health and wellbeing; coping with stress
- Aperture Education: Link : 5 tips to help parents teach social and emotional learning
- Wakefield Special Education: Link : Guidance for families regarding special education
- Wakefield Food Pantry: Link: Food assistance during the quarantine
- Massachusetts 211: Link : Database to provide families with social service resources and information
- Confident Parents Confident Kids: Link: A site for parents supporting kids' social emotional development
- Common Sense Media: Link: How to protect kids' mental health during the pandemic
- Jessical Minahan via ASCD: Link: Maintaing connections, reducing anxiety while school is closed
- Rick Irving MSW via Parent to Parent: Link: A Family Survival Series: Parenting During COVID-19
- Every Monday Matters: Link: K-12 SEL Lessons for kids
Mental Health & Social Emotional Support
- Mass Tools for Schools: Link: A support guide to SEL and mental health needs
- Psychological Care Associates: Link: Local therapy video telethealth offerings
- McLean Hospital: Link: Online mental health supports for children and adolescents
- Child Mind Institute: Link: Request a telehealth appointment
- Commonwealth Of MA Link : Substance use & mental health support during COVID-19
- Shine Initiative: Link : Mental Health Toolkit for parents and caregivers of children
- Mind Matters: Link : An app that serves as an interactive tool to share mental health resources
- Coping Skills for Kids: Link : Deep breathing exercises to manage stress and anxiety
- CDC: Link : Coping with anxiety
- Paced Breathing: Link : Guided breathing visual
- The NAN Project: Link: Virtual lesson plans to stay positive and healthy during the quarantine
- Mind Beat: Link: Weekly student mental health toolkit
- American Psychological Association: Link: Tips for quarantined parents in the times of COVID
Home Resources for Learning
- Brain Pop: Link: Social emotional learning
- Aperture Education: Link : Downloadable strategies and educational links
- SEL4MA: Link : COVID-19 SEL supports
- Calm Classroom: Link : Scripted techniques & audio recordings for preschool-12th grade students
- Go Noodle Mindfulness: Link: Guided exercises for kids and teens
- Calm Blog: Link : A catch-all site for all things to relax including sleep stories, music, meditations, and mindfulness resources
- Mindful Schools: Link : Mindfulness lessons for kids with free Facebook live events
- Digital Resources: Link : List of multiple links academic & social emotional
- Character Strong: Link : SEL character and leadership resource library
- 101 Social Skills Activities: Link: Multiple activities for kids
- Center-vention: Link: Communication, cooperation, emotion regulation, empathy, impulse control, and social initiation activities
- Mind Yeti: Link: Mindfulness lessons and games for kids
- Do2Learn: Link: Social communication activities for students
- At-Home: Link: Calendar of resources on multiple subjects and topics
- Confident Counselors: Link: 5 Counseling activities with only a sheet of paper
- Galvin Friday Enrichment Choice Board: Link: Fun activities for kids to explore at their own pace
- Puzzle Break: Link: A virtual escape room experience for friends and family
- Kids Yoga Stories: Link: Breathe Calm Connect Mini Pack
Tips on How to Get Through This Challenging Time at Home
1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.
2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.
3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned about contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.
4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc
6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!
7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, movement, and comforting pressure. An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. Create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.
8. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.
9. Find your own retreat space. Space is at a premium. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. Identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.
10. Expect stress. We are all struggling with disruption in routine because we rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Anxiety, worries, fears, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and meltdowns are all normal. Try your best to manage and move on.
11. Limit social media and COVID conversation. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. If the news is stressing you out. Turn it off.
12. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counterbalance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
13. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, call elderly neighbors; helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.
14. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.
15. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.
16. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.
17. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!
18. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.
19. Reach out for help. Do not worry alone. Do not isolate yourself. Let your parents know you are scared or sad. Reach out to friends, teachers, counselors, etc.
20. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. Focus on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time; find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.
21. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeling free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.
- Tips from Dr. Eileen M Feliciano, Brooklyn NY