COVID-19 Support

During this uncertain time, as we all face the stress and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to equipping you with free resources to provide continued emotional support for young children.

Our new special video series, featuring Al, the endearing puppet role model in our evidence-based program “Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices,” helps children cope with daily life during the Coronavirus health crisis. Al talks with the children about his own feelings, about feelings they may be experiencing, and how to manage them.

Al’s messages can benefit all children, whether this is the first time they are meeting him, or they already know him from the classroom.

We invite you to share the videos and our other free resources through your social media outlets, on your website, through email or other ways you communicate with families and community partners.

Together we can foster children’s resilience during these challenging times and strengthen their skills for life.

 

Video:  Helping children deal with feelings about missing their friends and staying home 

In this video, Al talks to children about feelings they might be having from missing their friends and teachers and staying home, and the importance of staying healthy. Al sings the “I’m a Healthy Child” song that reminds children that being healthy means taking care of their bodies and talking about how they feel.

 

Video: Encouraging children to talk about feelings from missing events and friends 

In this video, Al encourages children to talk to a trusted adult about feelings they may have from missing fun events and friends due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

 

Video: Al helps children use the “Calm Down” steps to handle big feelings

In this video, Al talks to children about using the “Calm Down” steps to handle big feelings they may have from being home so much due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As you know, self-regulation is an important social-emotional skill, particularly during this unusual time when feelings flare up because daily life has changed for so many.

 

Video: Al helps children deal with feeling scared when they see people wear masks 

In this video, Al wears a mask and explains to children that many people are wearing masks to stay safe and healthy, and to stop the bad virus (COVID-19) from spreading. He tells them that it is ok if they feel scared or worried or any other feeling.

 

Video: Al helps children cope with being disappointed when plans are canceled 

In this video, Al talks with the children about feeling disappointed when plans are canceled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He encourages them to think of other fun things they can do while staying home and to talk to a trusted adult about their feelings. Al sings the “Lots of Feelings” song to remind the children that any feelings they have are ok – there are no right or wrong feelings.

COVID-19 Support

Our child-friendly videos provide emotional support to help children cope with daily life and the feelings they may be having during the Coronavirus health crisis.

 

To watch the videos please click here.

 

 

 

Ready or Not, Here Comes Kindergarten!

Summer is a Great Time to Get Ready for School

There’s lots of talk about school readiness, but what does that really mean?

School readiness is more than basic knowledge of language and math, important as these are. Being ready for school means being ready in all areas: physical, cognitive, AND social-emotional. It also helps to come with a positive attitude toward learning.

There are many facets to helping a child prepare for success in school and summer is a good time to support your child’s readiness. These tips can help make the transition a smooth one.

Lots of new experiences at school!
Lots of new experiences at school!

Practical strategies to help kids prepare for daily school life:

  • Helping hands. Have children take on more responsibility as a member of the household. Together with your child, come up with a list of chores that he can do this summer. Some ideas are tidying up his room, helping with meal clean-up, feeding and brushing a pet, sweeping the kitchen, sorting laundry, making his bed, putting away groceries, planning a meal. Children will have more responsibility at school, so this is good practice. And children thrive when they contribute to and feel like a part of a group.
  • Fine motor fun. Give children a chance to use scissors, glue, and paints, or build with small blocks or legos. These activities help with fine motor development and spark creativity.
  • I did it myself! Look for opportunities to let your child do more things herself. Can she order her own lunch, carry a tray, speak to the cashier or librarian, or pack and zip up her backpack? This builds independence and gives her the message that you believe she is capable.
  • Play. Games that have rules, require waiting, or involve counting are great for practicing self-control, understanding rules, and learning how to take turns. Old favorites like Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I, and Simon Says help children learn the difference between right and wrong, fairness, and delayed gratification.
  • Silence is golden. If your child is talkative, help him remember to share the talking time. Have a discussion about taking time to listen to others and waiting to talk sometimes. This is another opportunity to work on self-regulation – remembering to stop and think before speaking.
  • But why? Encourage curiosity, discovery, and exploration. Get books from the library on topics that your child asks questions about. Look things up online together. Try new foods – have taste tests with unusual fruits or vegetables. Be curious yourself and ask questions about how things work, or grow, or fly (weather, nature, animals, space).
  • Hit the books. Read, read, and read some more. Reading together promotes emerging literacy and language development. And research shows that reading to a child is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading. Plus that time together evokes warm feelings about reading and enriches your relationship with your child!

Strategies to support emotional readiness:

  • Focus on feelings. Listen for the feelings. When your child talks about starting school, stop and listen. Accept all feelings and resist the urge to say “don’t worry” or “there’s nothing to be nervous about” or “you’ll be fine”. Instead of talking him out of his feeling, validate the feeling: “It sounds like you are worried about being in a new classroom. Lots of kids would feel worried about that.” Let that soak in for a minute, then add something like, “Let’s imagine what you think it will look like. Then we can compare that to what we see when we visit.”
  • Teach kindness and friendship. When reading together or out in the real world, point out and talk about what it means to be a good friend. What does kindness look like? How do friends treat each other? Model kind acts by letting someone go ahead of you in line, keep bottled water in your car and hand them out to folks on the corner asking for help, visit a neighbor, take flowers to a friend for no reason.
  • Share your memories. Tell stories of starting school or talk about when you started something new. Certainly be genuine, but spend the most time on the positive parts of your experience: making new friends, learning cool things, getting new supplies.
  • Spend time together. Designate some time when there are no electronic devices and really connect. Spend 15 minutes doing whatever your child chooses (that doesn’t involve technology!); try to have dinner together as often as possible (device-free); take advantage of time in the car to talk and sing together; make time to snuggle.

You child will appreciate your attention during any of these activities. Your positive attitude about starting school will set the tone and help to make it something to look forward to!