Coronavirus, Emotions, Mindfulness, Parenting, SEL Social Emotional Learning, teens, Uncategorized

Mindfulness for Kids and Teens: Strategies for the Pandemic

mindful teen, practicing mindfulness, mindfulness for kids and teens,
Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

Choose Mindfulness for Kids and Teens

By this time, in the pandemic, we are all looking for some ways to cope. Adults at least have the advantage of maturity in coping with problems. Agreed, that we have never suffered such a widespread and relentless issue.

You know that kids do not have the same background to understand that this situation too will pass. Nor do they comprehend that while things are very difficult, their life still has many moments of joy. Mindfulness will support your kids and teens in shifting their mindset into something more positive. 

But as many adults know, kids find it impossible to believe that their parents have the wisdom to guide them. One solution for a caring mom or dad is to make their kids aware of information about the reasons to try mindfulness. You do not need to be the source of information, but you can point them in the right direction. 

A Personal Solution for Mindfulness for Kids and Teens

Have your kids experience this free Mini Mindfulness course as a way of introducing the topic. And when your kids and teens demonstrate that they are willing to try some techniques, explore the possibilities with them.

You may also like to investigate other resources. Take a look at this blog: The Best 20+ Resources for Battling the Coronavirus Fatigue in your Kids of All ages  

A Peer Group Solution for Mindfulness for Kids and Teens

Another powerful way to influence your kids is to interest their teachers about introducing some of the practices. Mindfulness will work in this setting, whether it be in a face-to-face situation or through a Zoom-like experience. Many schools are now embracing mindfulness, with amazing results. The students feel happier and in more control of themselves. Poor behavior in the classroom has been reduced. And there have even been some noticeable educational gains due to a strengthening of kids’ abilities to concentrate. 

The Oakland Study

In a 2010 study, there were noticeable differences in behavior after the students practiced mindfulness techniques and learned more about their emotional health. 

These were the figures from a study conducted in the Oakland area in 2010 after 6 weeks of the new program.

These results are even more impressive once you understand the demographics of the 3 schools.  Oakland had 

—- 4th highest in violent crime in the United States in 2010

— – 15.3 violent crimes per 1,000 people in 2010 all three elementary schools are in relatively high crime areas 

— – on the average, 85% of the students were enrolled in a free lunch program

If mindfulness can make this difference in an area with so many difficulties, you can imagine the effect in places that are more fortunate and supportive of the program.

The Boston Study

Take a look at this more recent study of mindfulness practices in schools. In 2019, in Boston, impressive results were achieved that involved over 2,000 students.

“The study revealed that higher levels of mindfulness were associated with better grades, higher standardized test scores in math and English language arts, better attendance, and fewer suspensions. The findings persisted even when we accounted for students’ prior academic performance, grade level, and demographic characteristics (i.e., gender, economic disadvantage, race/ethnicity, English learner status, and special education status).”

It may be possible to invite your school to try this technique. Especially since many kids are experiencing strong emotions due to the changes caused by the pandemic, or, if you are in Home Schooling Group, try to convince everyone to try mindfulness with their kids. Something is comforting in trying new approaches with more support.

Giving your child a more positive outlook is

vital to support their well-being.

Diversity, gifts, grandparents, Holidays, Parenting, Racism, SEL Social Emotional Learning, teens

Valentine’s Day Diversity

When you think of Valentine’s Day, diversity is not the first thought that comes to most people’s minds. But it is the perfect celebration to be inclusive with your Valentine’s Day Gifts. The whole point of the day is all about love and being loved. Isn’t that at the core of diversity?

Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to extend our personal feelings of caring to the entire human race. You can help kids appreciate others in many different ways.


Stories are a sure-fire way to broach challenging topics to make changes. There are stories for the very young . . .

Being different in this story can be about race, abilities and disabilities. Teach your child that all people have value and deserve respect.

right through to stories for teens. 

This is a science fiction story in which people can change their appearance easily, but one individual decides to remain true to herself.

Follow he story of friendship and the meaning of self-esteem.

And there are many issues explored in these stories.


The choice of some toys is obvious, but there are also some choices that you can make intentionally to integrate with learning experiences.

These figures represent different vocations as well as some diversity in the images. Add them to blocks or lego or a dollhouse to build a community that depends on each other.

An Artistic Approach

It is difficult to reflect the diversity of people in your art if you are missing the various shades for drawing people. There are sets of materials to accommodate for this fact.

With this set of pencil crayons your LOs can illustrate a whole host of people to reflect their community or to design material that reflects inclusivity.


Games are a perfect medium to teach about inclusion. Inclusion can be included in the artwork and the facts of many games. In addition, many games are played in co-operation instead of competitively.

In Cupcake Academy, the object is toward together to complete your cupcake assignment. The game does not include diverse images, but the spirit of co-operation teaches your child that it is best to work together.


Preteens and teens adorn their rooms with inspirational posters. Indeed, there are many that focus on inclusion and diversity.


The history of Valentine’s Day begins in a method to overcome oppression. Learn about the history behind this day.

When Saint Valentine is persecuted, he reaches out to others with his letters and cards. Learn the full story through this storybook.

Celebrations Across the World

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world. Also learn about different customs for friendship and marriage. National Geographic provides just enough detail to interest most kids.


There is a vast array of clothing with positive messages from which to choose at Valentine’s Day from sweatshirts for teens to baby clothes. Let your teen share Valentine’s Day Diversity by wearing clothing with a message.

Encourage your kids can support others through what they choose to wear or not wear.


This Land is Your Land: This well-known folk song took on new meaning when JLo sang it at President Biden’s recent inauguration.

Instead of choosing a predictable present for Valentine’s Day. select a more meaningful gift for your family members and friends.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion!

Related Articles

5 Powerful Strategies for Using Storybooks to Combat Racism: Young Children  Use these storybooks to help your child understand diversity. Research shows that kids notice racial differences as toddlers.    

5 Powerful Strategies for Using Media to Combat Racism: Kids 7 to 12   See the best videos and books to combat racism for kids aged 7 to 12. Keep your kids engaged and discussing diversity and inclusion. Give them strategies to use to stand up to racism. 

Six Types of Toys to Promote Diversity and Inclusion Start early to influence your children’s attitudes about diversity and inclusion. Continue throughout their lifetime.

Baby, Christmas, gifts, grandparents, Holidays, Parenting, Preschool, presents, Toddler, traveling

Traveling with a Baby (Toddler) at Holiday Time: 18 Best Distractions & Techniques

Photo by Carl Figuracion on Unsplash

All parents have been there. You have a distance to go, either in the car or on the airplane or a train.  And you are traveling with a baby or a squirmy toddler. 

How do you leverage things to avoid a complete disaster?

First and foremost, accept the fact that it won’t be an easy gig. Even the most accomplished and well-prepared adults shiver with dread in this type of situation. But there are some things you can do to manage the situation.

It is a well-established fact that toddlers are happiest when engaged, so while you are planning your trip, you need to make some contingency plans. Most likely, you want some easy to carry activities, won’t be messy, and are not noisy. Take a look at these suggestions to see what will work for you.

Busy Books: There are all sorts of busy books for many different levels of development. “What is a busy book?” you query.  It is a book that has an exciting toddler or baby level activities built-in. Many busy books are self-contained and do not have any parts that could wander off. Some of the activities may include tying shoelaces, fastening belts, or zipping up zippers.

These everyday items fascinate toddlers as they are just learning to master all of these closures. However, busy books can be on almost any topic. And some are even simple enough for an older baby to enjoy.

Technology: If your child loves stories, songs, and other activities using touchpads, you might consider loading some age-appropriate distraction. It is also helpful if you can convince your toddler to wear earphones, so the annoying, repetitive music is heard by your child and no other adult sitting in close range. This model comes with a 2-year warranty against breakage.

Finger Puppets: These amazing little items are easily stored in a pocket, ready for action. But they can lead to many minutes of story time or independent play. Sometimes you can find sets on a certain theme such as the nativity, sharks, or people. This 20 piece set will seem new each time you select 1 or 2 to play with.

Busy Boards: These are usually somewhat larger and heavier than busy books, but they can fascinate some mini engineers for a long time as they try to open doors, use keys to unlock locks, or slide a blot to see inside a cupboard. There are many different versions from which to select.

Coloring: Personally, this option never worked for me as I had a very active toddler who loved building things. But I see many young kids fascinated with crayons, coloring books, and even plain paper. Start with a few colors and then trade the colors to add more interest. Sometimes a special book, such as a Christmas tale, will keep your toddler mesmerized.

Puzzles: These work well as long as there are not too many pieces to lose. Often the puzzle pieces are single objects that can be used in creative play. A puzzle with different vehicles can give many minutes of joy as your LO decides to play with each piece as if it were a toy.

Reusable Sticker Books: Sticker books are always a huge success. They are easy to use and build delightful scenes. You can find a range of topics to tickle the fancy of your precious. Even my craft despising son could be amused with the right sticker book. There are some on holiday themes.

Fidgets or Sensory Toys:  These are items that have been invented to catch anyone’s attention. You may have to experiment with which one is right for your child. Do they like the lava lamp imitation, or are they more interested in a fidget with moving parts? Are they likely to chew on the toy? Some fidgets suit that purpose as well.

A Harness: Really? Absolutely!  Parents find it useful, especially if your toddler is a wanderer. Your wanderer can have some freedom of movement, but you are tethered to your explorer to keep them safe. Just ignore any stares from the disapproving adults. They either have not had a toddler out in this situation, or they have forgotten how difficult it can be to contain the wandering spirit with grace.

Cuddly Stuffed Toy:  And if your toddler becomes sleepy, it is always great to have a friend to settle down with. This bear is made for sleep. Not only is it cuddly, but it plays soothing sounds, lullaby and has a mini light show for your young child. You will want to use this some time before your trip so your toddler can associate it with sleeping.

Other Hints

Build Independent Play Time: Before you leave for your trip, have your toddler practice independent playtime. You can even set a timer and say, I’ll be back in 10 minutes when the bell rings. Gradually lengthen the independent playtime.

Strategic Scheduling:  If at all possible, schedule the boring travel time at your child’s naptime or throughout the night. Take advantage of the natural sleep rhythm so your child can pass the time quietly, and you might even be able to get some rest, too, if you are traveling on a train, bus, or airplane.

Experiment Ahead of Time: You could try out some of the special activities to see if they engage your child. Let them interact with the finger puppets and busy books to see what works best. And when you find an activity that your toddler finds engaging, put that item away for the traveling date. Keep the novelty of the toy fresh for the traveling episode.

Get Physical: About an hour before your departure, plan for a very physical time with your toddler. Walk up and down the train station. Take them to the park before you get into your car. Race around the area before getting on the bus. Carry some balloons with you. Blow one up and play catch in the area while waiting for your plane.

Bribery:  Always carry snacks and liquids with you. Often toddlers can be amused with enjoying a favorite flavor. During this stressful time, it is not essential to worry about nutrition. You can offer attractive alternatives that would not usually be available. Does this sound like bribery? Sure, it is. If it works, you can use it sparingly.

Be Watchful:  Recognize the signs of boredom or discomfort early. It is much easier to settle a young one if they are not in a full meltdown. So, if you see any squirming or hear any disgruntled sounds, act quickly to change the environment somehow.

Interact:  Often, toddlers prefer to interact with their loved ones. They are easily entertained with a game of Peek a Boo, or Can you Find something red?  Make a list of favorite games that require no equipment for those tense moments. If these games fail,  then try something as lame as “Hey, look at that _______!”  There will likely be something in your view to amuse your toddler.

Mix It Up: Be prepared to switch up the activities to reduce boredom as the hours roll on by. Put away the old and bring out the new on a regular basis.

Now RELAX.  

You are prepared to enjoy your holiday.

Parenting, Phonics, Preschool, Reading, Toddler, Uncategorized

Simple as A B C: Learn the Alphabet – Best Practices

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Learning the alphabet letters is the foundation for learning to read.  It is a fact that knowledge of the alphabet often predicts later success in the ability to read. 

And reading is the method many people use to learn concepts from the simplest to the most complicated. Many parents worry needlessly over their child’s progression for this task, as success may take some time. 

The Story of L

After 20 times of pointing out that your child’s name starts with “L” and little Leo still doesn’t seem to understand, it is easy to be discouraged. But what parents may not realize is that it could take up to 200 repetitions to solidify the concept. And this is especially true if this is the first letter you try to introduce. You may not realize what you are doing is almost a leap of faith on your child’s part.

Photo by Ryan Fields on Unsplash

They need to recognize that the squiggle on the paper has meaning. The squiggles are so unlike their standard method of communication – talking.

As a parent, you need to relax and keep repeating the story of “L” (as well as different letters) in many different ways until the message is understood. Repetition in interesting ways does work. However, dull, monotonous repetition does not.

It is significant that “L” is for Leo. 
But “L” has many stories to tell. It is for the brave lion in the storybook read last night. It is also “L” for lemon tarts that your child loves so much. You can make a capital “L” using your left hand and pointy finger. It is also the delightful smell of lilacs that bloom in the back of the yard. It is far more interesting and effective to have your child use their senses to associate with letter sounds. You can try using the coloring and identification pages, but you will have more success with experiential learning. Of course, you will need to introduce the symbols for “L,  l,” but associating the sounds with tangible objects is very powerful. 
You do not need set lessons about “L,” but the teacher (read parent) needs a mindset to point out every “L” in the immediate vicinity. It could be the ladder that daddy uses to fix the roof or the lightening in the rainstorm, or the lace on mommy’s blouse.  You could even point to the large sign that says, “Lucy’s Corner Store.” L seems to be everywhere.

After many repetitions, Leo will finally understand the association of the letter to the sound it makes. At that point you can start to associate the sound and letter of “L” to instances in print.

How fortunate that you decided on the name “Leo” as that name choice has made teaching the first letter of the alphabet much easier. The sound that “L” makes is in its name.  If you had decided on Charlie instead of Leo, your job would have been much more difficult. The “C” in Charlie has to be combined with the “h” to make the “ch.” Sometimes “C” is a hard sound such as in “candy,” and sometimes it is a soft sound such as in “ice.” The letter “C” can be so confusing!

What’s in a Name?

You might be wondering why I started with your child’s name. Why didn’t I start with “A” as it is the first letter of the alphabet?  Current research affirms that the beginning sound or letter of your child’s first name is an ideal place to start. Did you know that children are 7.5 times more likely to know the letter of their first initial, according to a scientific study, Pivotal Research in Early Literacy? And even better, if the name has an easier letter with which to begin.

It only makes sense to many people that children would be partial to their own name. After all, they have heard their name many more times than most other words. It is easier to start with the familiar when teaching something as abstract as a symbolic system of letter recognition. 

The Name of the Letters or the Sound?

There have been many debates about which system is more important. Do you teach the name of the letters or the sound the letters make? Experts have solid arguments for both strategies.
But this same study confirmed that whether you start with the letter names, as in the ABC song, or the sounds of the letters doesn’t substantially make a difference. Interestingly, in the US, parents tend to teach the letter names, and in the UK, they tend to teach the sounds of the letters.

Capital Letters or Small Letters

It is easier for kids to recognize the capital letters as opposed to the small letters as capitals are graphically more unique from each other. Anyone who has run into the “b” and “d” confusions can attest to this phenomenon.

As a veteran teacher of small kids, I prefer that parents familiarize their kids with the small letters of the alphabet as those are the “meat and potatoes” of reading.  You do not need to begin with the small letters, but by the time your child is ready to go to kindergarten, it is important that he or she is familiar with all of the small letters. Research does validate that the kids who know capital letters first had better retention of small letters. 

Where to Start?

Start with the first letter of your child’s name, even if it is a tricky letter. Familiarity trumps almost everything else in introducing an entirely new form of communication. Your young child knows talking. Now you are introducing something far less concrete.  

No, no, no – Not a Letter a Week Approach

It would seem to the adult mind that focusing on a letter a week just makes sense. But that is not the best way to learn the alphabet. Not every letter deserves an intense focus on it. Your focus on the letters should be proportional to their importance. E is the most frequent letter in the English language, and q is the least infrequent. Spend more time on letters that have more significance. Some lowercase letters are very confusing because the shape is the same, but the orientation is different. Consider these pairs: b–d; p–q; u–n. Many kids also confuse n with m because they look so similar. Don’t get discouraged if your child has some difficulty in distinguishing the differences. Other kids confuse s with 2. Some kids are 7 or 8 years old before they stop confusing these letters in their writing.  

So,  spend more time with letters that are difficult or used more in the English language. Take less time with uncommon letters and letters your child learns quickly.  

An Alphabetical Approach- NOT

Any set of exercises that starts at A and ends with Z is not based on the latest research for instruction. You can use these materials if you rearrange the order of the letters and intensify instruction for the most important letters. 
Any program that introduces a letter a week does not do justice because some letters require more instruction because they are complicated. All of the vowels fall under this category as they have at least 2 different sound associations – short sound like “e” in egg and long sound like “e” in easy. Then there are times when “e” is silent, but it makes another letter change its sound, such as “e” in cape. 

Programs that are organized to teach your child the letters and sounds may have a slightly different order of letters, but they do start with the letters that are easier to learn and are also used in many 3 letter words. You can easily find different organizations through a Google search. Then you can select the program that best suits your child’s needs.

However, “s” is often a beginning letter to investigate (after your child’s name) because it has a very distinctive sound and is used in many words. You will find many picture books that emphasize this letter.

Letter Recognition, Print Awareness, and Beginning Writing – All at the Same Time

Another critical aspect of learning the ABCs is linking the letters or their sounds to print. You should be looking for letters in a book, in the world around your child, and in writing letters to spell words. These 3 approaches scaffold the reading process.
Books that have a repeated letters are great for a letter hunt. 

In the environment, you can look for “H” as it signals a hospital. Or the STOP on the red sign means that mommy must stop the car. All of these letters in your environment can become useful tools for teaching the alphabet.

Start your child writing the first letter of their name. Add the consonant letters next and finally slip in the vowels. Let your child scribble and tell you about the story they have written. That is a significant, positive step in development. They may progress to invented spelling for words such as using grf for giraffe. 

So, learning the letters, recognizing them in printed text, in the world around them, and using the letters to communicate are very valuable steps in the reading-writing process. Each activity adds meaning to the other.

A Recap for an Evidence-Based Approach to Teaching the ABC’s

  • Child’s Name: One very successful place to start with is the first letter of your child’s name, especially if it is a letter that has a similar or identical sound and name. Some of those letters are more suitable for teaching than others A for Adrian (but not for Alyssa), C for Carlie (but not for Charlie), G for George (but not for Gregory), etcetera. But even if your child has a less desirable first letter, I would start there anyway as familiarity will be more important than exact sound matching.
  • CAPITAL LETTERS: You can use the capital letters for first teaching the recognition of the letters.  However, every primary teacher will be supportive of teaching small letters by kindergarten age.
  • Experiences: Focus on experiential learning and not worksheets or dull practice of the sounds. A caveat here. Some kids like to have worksheets, just like big brother or sister. You can effectively use those phonic pages, but don’t insist the pages get completed if their interests wander.
  • Look for the Print: Alphabet instruction is enhanced when it is also linked to print –  in the environment, in writing, and in the books you read to children. 

Here’s what to Teach to your LO before Going to Kindergarten

The process of acquiring these skills will be haphazard. It is not necessary to start at any one point, but it is necessary to cover these skills for a successful beginning to school.

Developing Comprehension Skills

  • Enjoy hearing stories and singing songs
  • Understand the meaning of stories.
  • Be able to tell what happened in the story – beginning, middle, and end

Developing Letter and Phonetic Skills

  • Sing or say the alphabet
  • Identify most of the uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Match uppercase letters to lowercase
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Know the sounds that the letters make
  • Write some of the letters
  • Write their name and know the letters in their name

Mathematical  Knowledge

  • Count to 10
  • Recognize number patterns  – the patterns  look like what is on dice 
  • Sizing  – bigger and smaller objects, longer and shorter, taller and shorter, heavier and lighter
  • Names of commons shapes  – 3D, e.g., cube, ball,    and 2D, e.g., square, circle, triangle, 
  • Progression of time  – sooner and later, day and night,  before and  after

Coronavirus, Elementary School Kids, Parenting, Preschool, Toddler

Kids Can: in the Coronavirus Pandemic

When you can do something in a circumstance, you feel in more control. Kids do not know this fact instinctively, but you can help them to cultivate this strategy.

It will help your kids establish a better emotional balance during this pandemic.

What the Research Says

“According to a 2017 study by Fothergill, kids experience the general atmosphere of anxiety and panic as acutely as adults do, only they might be better at hiding it. That fact might contribute to a general sense among adults that children are somehow naturally “resilient,” and can bounce back easily. And that attitude from adults can hamper both proactive attempts to help children process what’s happening, and necessary therapeutic efforts after the disaster,” according to The Atlantic.

You Can

So, what can you do as a responsible parent? You can focus on what kids can do to maintain a positive attitude and encourage coping skills during the restricted conditions in the coronavirus pandemic. Try out these 7 ideas to eliminate bad behavior!

1. Be A Helper!

This is a win-win situation. Parents will welcome the help at home at the same time that kids need to be active.

As a parent, you can explain that just as the emergency care workers help sick people, kids can help at home to keep family members safe.

Set up a list of ways to help from setting the table, putting out the garbage, and creating a garden. Let your kids select the tasks they want to do if you’re intent on getting “buy-in” from them. Then reward them with an acknowledgment of their contribution. Make your praise specific as it is more effective. It may sound like this. “When you do the dishes, it gives mummy more time to organize things for all of the family. Thank you for doing such a great job!”

If your children are older, they can be a helper in your community. There are many special projects developed by a local community organization, churches, and government agencies to meet the needs of this unusual time. Many tasks can be completed by older kids in your own home if you do not want to expose them to the risks of working with people outside your family bubble. They could make courtesy Facebook connections to elders in the nursing homes, or package material to distribute as just a few examples.

2. Follow the Family Routine

Kids thrive on knowing the ebb and flow of the day, so it is crucial to set up a routine for eating, sleeping, chores, entertainment, and other daily activities. A routine will ward off bad behavior.

To make the plan visible to everyone, it is essential to post the schedule where it can be seen. You may not have times associated with the routine, but the order of some activities will be very similar every day.

Not every day needs to be identical. For instance, you may target one day a week for grocery shopping or to assist at the local food kitchen or work in the garden.

3. Stay Healthy

To fight this virus, each individual has a societal responsibility to stay healthy. For your kids, that can manifest itself in helping to plan healthy meals or snacks, times and types of exercise, times for social interaction, and times for individual responsibility such as homework or job-related tasks.

You will need to point out that these healthy initiatives are required to combat the coronavirus spread. These small steps are all part of the larger fight to beat this pandemic.

4. Ask Questions

Often kids can misinterpret the media, have learned an incorrect fact from a friend, or respond to their anxiety in a very damaging way. Negative emotions based on misconceptions are potent.

Encourage seeking the truth about the pandemic so that the path to a more normal life is clear.

You may want to add a question period in your daily routine to spark interaction. Perhaps while you are preparing dinner, you can have an open session where questions are asked or present some critical information. Bedtime is another opportunity for conversations, as well.

5. A Temporary Situation

Kids need to understand that this situation is, for now, but it will not be forever. You can assure them that gradually they will be able to do the things they always did, such as go to school, visit their friends and family, play on the beach and everything else.

But at first, things will be different as we all need to use social distancing, such as wearing masks, meeting outside, or meeting behind glass. Eventually, these precautions will fade away and just become a memory.

6. Be Thankful Every Day

Although our current situation may be the toughest sacrifice you have had to make, it is not the most severe that people in other areas face daily.

It is critical to help your kids see the positives in their lives. Perhaps everyone they know is healthy. Or staying at home has meant more time with family members. Your kids may have learned a new skill in this time, such as learning to ride a bike or learning how to use tools or reading more books.

You may want to put a thankfulness time into your routine. Every day, in the conversation around the dinner table, you can role model what you were thankful for today. It can be something as small as seeing the first robin of the year or as big as grandma got out of the hospital today. Focus on the positive in direction opposition to the build-up of negative emotions.

7. Be the Best They Can

By helping your kids understand the source of their negative emotions, they can take control of their own behavior.

There are many storybooks and YouTube videos that explain the connection between stress and anxiety and bad behavior in a kid-like manner. As a parent, you will recognize that poor behavior is likely a maladjusted response for dealing with fear or depression.

Teach your child to understand that these outbursts are responses to a situation that is beyond their control. Your kids need to focus on what they can do in this very oppressive situation. They can choose to make themselves feel better. And you are there to support them as they find ways to be more positive.

With young kids, you need the right tool to help your child understand that sometimes life sucks, but when it does, that is the time to use the light at the end of the tunnel to boost their spirits.


There are some specific resources for parents to use to address feelings kids may be experiencing. Some are coronavirus specific, and others are about the emotions generated by a variety of situations. Use these resources to help your children understand that dealing with their feelings will put them into control of their life.

Spark your child’s understanding of their emotions through the right media resources.

Recommended Articles

Activities and conversation starters during the coronavirus pandemic By YoungMinds

Recommended Social Story Books for Younger Children

Use special storybooks to help change behavior. 5 Tips and Tricks for using Storybooks to Alleviate Emotional Distress

A New Day by Alex Ryvchin

There is hope for the future in this story. Arm your kids with this sentiment during this time that is filled with doubt.

Heroes of the Pandemic by Anant Naik

These everyday heroes perform magnificent feats daily. Your kids can replicate their bravery by stepping up their efforts to keep the family safe and in good spirits. Just ask them to be a hero and you may be surprised at their effort.

Help your Dragon Deal with Anxiety by Steve Herman

Although this is not a coronavirus specific book, all of the lessons in this book can be applied to the current situation.

Help your Dragon Cope with Trauma by Steve Herman

Trauma can come in many forms. It will be easy to relate the situations in this book to your current family situation. The important aspect is how to cope with trauma in any form.

Uncertain Times: A Story for Kids during a Pandemic
by Jaime Henle , Giada Biasetti, et al.

This storybook has been written by a clinical psychologist. The tiny bird, as a narrator, is a symbol of hope and freedom, which is what we need these days.

Not Forever But For Now: by Heather Malley

This story is about about feelings during the pandemic. The many scary emotions that are explored are put into counterpoint by the ever green activities and refrain “Not Forever, but For Now.”

Someday Soon by Ari Gunzburg

As adults we can rationalize that “someday soon” will come. Young kids need to hear and see confirmation that their hopes are not lost. We are all longing for that change, even if we know that it will be the new normal.

Recommended YouTube Videos

Helping Children Manage Anxiety During the COVID 19 Pandemic: You will appreciate the background information. – for parents

Kids and Stress: Willem, the “News Dude” speaks directly to kids about the causes and some solutions for stress. – suitable for older children

Stress Relief for Kids: Blow out the candle breathing. Use this video to explain training in deep breathing using cartoon characters. Your child will understand a mindful moment. – varied ages

What Causes Anxiety & Depression? This video uses scenes from the movie “Inside Out” to explain why we need to acknowledge our feelings, but then shows a way to move on. It’s okay to be sad. – a variety of ages

Managing Worry and Anxiety: The rap cartoon is about how to overcome worrying. great for older kids

De-stress Hacks to Relax: Your kids can make stress-relieving tools to destress. – suitable for older children

Anxiety for Kids – You are Normal: This video is an explanation of anxiety. The explanation includes the physical changes you undergo. – for older kids

Ruby Finds a Worry: In this storybook read aloud, A worry follows Ruby everywhere. It grows every day until she finds a friend to talk to. It shows that talking about worries with a friend is the best solution. – for young children

Anxiety Management for kids: This is a cartoon explanation about the source of anxiety.- for a school-aged child

Dealing with Anxiety as a Kid: This video explains the physical cause of anxiety and ways to cope with the fears. – for preteens and teens

Coronavirus, Education, Elementary School Kids, Parenting

7 Tips and Tricks for Going Back to School: After the Coronavirus Lockdown

Red haired boy wearing a mask, sitting at a desk. Many schools will insist that all kids will need to wear masks to keep everyone safe.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Very soon, every family will be facing this dilemma.  You will be thinking about sending your child back to school. Since the restrictions for the coronavirus are easing, many areas are opening up the schools. In most places daycares have been open for a while. Some parents will welcome the opportunity to get closer to the new normal, and others will refuse to send their children.

In this unpredictable world, both viewpoints are understandable. 

But if you do send your child back to school, help prepare them for the inevitable.  It will not look like what they know and are familiar with.

Here are 7 pointers to assist you. The ideas have been generalized, and you may need to confirm the details with your school district. You can explain the following to your child.

1. Not The Same

School will not be the same as before. But it is safe for you to return if you understand a few ideas and the new rules about school.

If you have an older brother or sister, they may go to school first, or they may have to wait until after you go to school. Not everyone will return on the same day.

Your mom or dad may take your temperature every day to make sure you are ok to mix with your friends. This check will keep everyone safe.

2. I Can See My Friends

You will be very happy to see your friends, but you cannot play with them in the same way as before.

You can see your friends and talk to them, but you cannot get any closer than 6 feet – Parents you will need to demonstrate how far that is – have your child stretch out their hands.

You can practice social distancing at home so your child can be prepared for it. Have a “social distancing morning or afternoon” in your home to normalize the conditions. Include handwashing in your routine.

There will be no sharing of anything, including school supplies, snacks or lunches, books, papers when you go back to school.

Your teachers will give you lots of time to play with each other in a safe way. You can share what you have been doing with your families. Or you can just play, now that you are together again.

It could be that some of your friends will decide to stay at home and will not be at school with you. That is their choice. Their mom and dad will keep them safe at home.

3. The Classroom Will Be Different

Medical vector created by nizovatina –

There will be fewer people in your class, so that your teachers can keep everyone safely apart at the right distance. 

You will not be allowed to leave the classroom without an adult to help you remember the rules about distancing.

Your teacher will likely teach you everything, from reading to physical education to music. It is unlikely that there will be any teachers that teach many different classes.

It also could be that your teacher may not be back.  He or she may have health concerns or may have family members who need care.  It could be a personal decision on the part of your teacher. You will not be told why they are not at school, as this is private information. No one will share the reasons with you. 

4. Keeping You Safe from the Virus

You may see more people cleaning more often. This is to keep you safe. So, if you use the blocks, they may have to be cleaned before anyone else uses them. Your teacher will explain what to do to keep you safe.

You will have to do more personal washing than ever before.  Parents need to be aware that “the new government directive says children will have to wash their hands upon arrival at school, before and after each trip to the toilet, before and after each meal, after play, after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching shared objects, and before going home,” according to The Local. Hand washing will take time for everyone to do, a few at a time.  Before you go to school, I will help you practice how to wash your hands washing and in school, you can use the songs or methods, so you know how long to spend washing your hands.

If you have a fever at school or show signs of illness, you will need to go home to keep everyone safe. 

5. Hey!!!!   This is Different

Your mom or dad will have to take your temperature every day before you leave for school.

Somethings you see will surprise you. There may be X’s on the pavement or in the hallways, so you will know where to stand. There may be arrows for ways to walk.

You will continue to see masks.  Children may have the choice to wear a mask. Some kids may have a medical reason why they cannot wear a mask. But all of the adults will wear one.

Your parents will not be able to go into the school. They may have to wait in your family car. You will need to go inside yourself, but your teachers will be there to help you. Don’t worry, everything will work out, when you go back to school.

You may go to school for a week and then will stay home for a week. Or you may go to school in the afternoons and your friends will go in the mornings.

6. Recess

Recess will look very different. Some schools will have sections of the playground for certain classes. Others will have classes go out for recess at different times.

There will be no baseball or soccer games as you come into contact too closely for those types of sports. You may want to bring some toys to play with at recess, but you may not share these toys with a friend. 

Some areas of the schoolyard may be closed to everyone. That could include the playground, sandpits, and other equipment, when you go back to school.

7. My Ride to School

You can go to school on the bus, but you may not be able to sit with a friend, as that is too close to keep you safe. Your brother or sister may need to sit on the same seat with you because they are in your safe bubble. Your friend may sit across the aisle from you. No one can turn around to talk to a friend as this is too close. You may want to play a game with your seatmates on your ride to school. You could play “I Spy” or you could count the blue cars you see on your ride.

Your teacher will help you understand how you are feeling about the differences in what is happening. Your friends will be telling everyone how they think and what is frustrating. That will be your chance to explain to them how you feel. It is okay to be upset or confused. Many kids will feel that way.

Kids and teachers will make mistakes until everyone becomes used to the new way of going to school. Everyone needs to be patient with each other because changes are hard to do, especially when there are so many happening at once.

Parental Advice

1. Check the school website or contact your school to determine the details of the return to school from the coronavirus lockdown.

2. Talk to your children about aspects of returning to school in small chunks. Do not overwhelm them with too much information. It is okay to say, “I don’t know the answer, but I will try to find out for you.”

3. Try to be matter of fact about the entire situation. The calmer you are, the more relaxed your kids will be.

4. Remember to ask your child if they have any questions.  Your child might be worrying about something that isn’t true.  You can alleviate some of their stress with your answers.

5. If your child is anxious, you may want to consider a delayed entry back to school. Things will start to become routine after the first week, and that might be the most suitable time to have your child begin to participate in school.

6. Similarly, if your child becomes too anxious with all of the changes, you may want to withdraw them from school at this time, until things are less restrictive. Your child’s mental health is more important than academic progress over the next few months.

7. The school system is well aware that this is a difficult time. As a parent, you have the right to request support for your children and your family. So if you feel your child needs a special request, be sure to voice your concerns. Schools will take measures to accommodate all kids, if it is within their guidelines.

Remember, there is no textbook answer to the complications of the coronavirus. Don’t be reluctant to negotiate what you feel are the needs of your family.  Contact the school with any of your concerns. They will make every effort to help you. We are all struggling to maintain our composure in these very trying times. And don’t forget to celebrate with your children their return to school.

Going to school is a big step back into our new normal state.

With careful preparations, your children can do their share in helping their community heal. 

Helping Your Child in Other Areas

Emotional Distress: Help your child gain control over their emotions. Use storybooks to address jealousy, temper, and other emotions.

A Positive Approach: Kids Can: in the coronavirus pandemic. See the tips and tricks to help kids be more positive during the coronavirus pandemic. Use storybooks and Youtube videos to help your kids understand their emotions.

Early Reading: If you need some guidance about teaching reading, learn some tips and tricks from an award-winning  Canadian teacher who has been teaching reading for decades. Help for Parents (Reading Instruction) :

Physical Activity: Take a look at these outdoor activities to expend your child’s energy.


My Homework Blues: and I am the parent

Photo by Jeremy Avery on Unsplash

When to Tutor Your Child

Every parent wants to see their child be successful in the school environment. In fact a survey in 2018 by Varkey Foundation and published by The World Economic Forum found that “U.S. parents spend about 6.2 hours a week helping” their child with homework.  Many other fortunate parents don’t even give this matter a second thought as their child navigates the waters of education without any difficulty. It would be wonderful if that were the case for every child. But the fact of the matter is that  this is not true for all families. Some children seem to have difficulty learning. An overcast of disappointment can cloud the relationship between parent and child. It is crucial to consider many variables before deciding to tutor your child.

Clarifying the Issue

It is vital to obtain a clear picture of any issues that could be at the heart of the matter. An interview with your child’s teacher can provide much enlightenment on the subject. This professional will even supply you with some strategies to assist your child. Perhaps there is a classroom website that outlines the details of what is being taught, and in the rush of every-day life, you were unaware of this lifeline. You can inquire to see if the school has any supervised homework sessions after school. Any such strategies might be just what is needed.

Process of Identifying a Leaning Problem

Initially, when a child is having difficulty academically, most schools begin with a check to see if any physical elements could be interfering with the learning process. One of the first checks your school may request is that you take your child to your family doctor for an examination of their ability to see or hear. They may even have staff that complete these checks for you. Any difficulty with these primary physical means of perception can significantly interfere with understanding the concepts that are being presented.

Once it has been determined that your child can hear and see, the next check might be for cognitive processing that could be interfering with the learning. Again, you may need to acquire these services, but many school boards have a process to help uncover any learning difficulties. If a specific problem does surface, there will be many different strategies that can be tried to help alleviate the situation from pairing your child with a learning buddy, to the use of technology to accommodate to any writing issues or to priority seating in the classroom to name just a few standard solutions.

If your child is having difficulty in many areas of the curriculum, there is likely a learning disability. Many successful individuals cope with learning disabilities. You may be surprised to learn that Keira Knightley, Jamie Oliver, Daniel Radcliffe, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Spielberg once struggled with learning disabilities. Still, obviously, this has not blocked their ability to excel in their chosen area of endeavor.  These are only a few examples of the many people with learning difficulties who have faced their challenges successfully. Once the nature of the issue for your child has been identified, then children can apply strategies specific to their learning problems. For example, if they have a memory issue, they can learn to write instructions that they can follow or make diagrams to scaffold their work. Children who have been identified are allowed these strategies in testing situations. The strategies are recognized at college and university levels so that a learning problem does not hinder the progress of individuals. Indeed, many successful people continue to use these strategies in their adult life. 

How Can I Help?

But the question still remains, “What can I do to help my child?”  Rest assured that there are many ways to help a child succeed at school. The solution lies with the exact issue, of course, but it usually revolves around interventions for language or mathematics or both.  

5 Key Strategies to Improve Language Skills

1)    Nothing improves comprehension better than hearing the story read by a competent reader and then discussing the heart of the concepts. If your child does not want to read the material with you, you can read it on your own and then engage them in conversation. Watching a popular video or TV show and then discussing the theme, the characters, or the lessons learned is also very valuable.

2)    Use the dinner table as an opportunity to discuss age-appropriate events. 

parents and kid sharing a toast at dinnertime

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

3)    Play board games that encourage language skills. Games that center around solving a crime by gathering clues can also be very enjoyable while bolstering language skills. Vocabulary building games such as Scrabble, Boggle, or Crosswords  strengthen an understanding of words.

4)    Having your child write messages, emails, or holding discussions with a friend or relative who is in another part of the world helps your child to organize their thoughts to present their point of view.

5)    Many children, especially boys, prefer to delve into non-fictional subjects. Spending time enjoying material about the favorite topic enhances communication skills.

5 Key Strategies to Improve Mathematical Skills

1)    With young children, it is helpful to review number facts in a playful situation, whether it be as part of a board game or in a competitive video game.

2)    Building toys such as lego can build an understanding of multiplication, percentages, and ration. The very structure of the material demands that they understand numerical relationships.  Many children appreciate sequencing through the building of a vehicle or structure by following the plans in the building kits.

3)    Many websites offer unique opportunities to build basic numerical skills. 

4)    Use mathematical concepts in every-day life situations. Measurement can be used in cooking and in building items

decorating cookies on a cookie tray

Photo by Pixabay

5)    With older children, encourage your son or daughter to develop a team of friends who meet in your home to help each other complete homework or prepare for tests. It is crucial that you be close by during these sessions to show your encouragement of this endeavor and to provide casual supervision. Make sure there are snacks available. Working in a productive team is a skill that will be needed for most employment situations.

Am I Suited for this Role of a Tutor?

The next question you may encounter is if you or a family member is suitable to provide the assistance needed. It will be essential that you take a close look at your family dynamics as well as the age of your child. Young children, in general, are more willing to accept parental assistance. Older children may not be as accepting of a family member for help with academic problems.  People with a short fuse seldom make useful tutors, and some family dynamics only result is disasters. If the process of helping is putting a strain on your relationship with your son or daughter, it is time to move on to a private tutor or an agency that specializes in this area.

Take a Deep Breath

family att he park

Image by moonpie from Pixabay 

The most important piece of advice is to view the situation as just one of life’s pervasive challenges. Learning problems plague many people, but with effort, almost every type can be overcome. Take a deep breath and set an example for your child. Never lose faith in their ability to face issues that life presents them.