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Helpful Articles

Parent Tips and  Information from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services




Education Resources for COVID-19 for Virtual Learning


Math 11

Science 14

Social Studies 22

Pre-K 24

Career and Technical Education 26

Agriculture and Manufacturing 26

Family and Consumer Sciences 27

Business, Marketing and Finance 28

All Areas 28

Texas Labor Market and Career Information 30

Health Science 31

Special Education 33

ESL 35

Mental Health Resources 39

Providing Online Content 41

Internet Safety 44

Gifted and Talented 45

Dyslexia 45


Grade Band




    • ABCMouse  Age of Learning provides schools closed due to the coronavirus with free home access for all affected families to leading digital education programs ABCmouse, Adventure Academy, and ReadingIQ. Programs serve students in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Code:SCHOOL2568
    • Brain Pop Jr.   Request free access during school closure;
      Engaging learning games, animated movies, educational videos on various topics.
    • Education Galaxy - Offering free school accounts
      Education Galaxy provides online STAAR assessment and practice for students in Grades K-6 to help build mastery towards TEKS. Available in English and Spanish. 
    • EPIC Digital library with 35,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes and more. Students will have anywhere, anytime access to the full Epic library on all devices (including web browsers, the iOS app and the Android app), and teachers can stay connected to their students by assigning books and collections and tracking reading activity and progress.
    • Florida Center for Reading Research Printable, research-based activities for grades 2-3.
    • Florida Center for Reading Research Printable, research-based activities for grades 4-5.
  • Freckle Created by Renaissance, can create a classroom, add students, and assign skills for free.  Aligned to TEKS, can target specific skills.
  • Literacy Nest  Blog, phonics, writing, Numerous OG activities; fee during school closures.
  • LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems Mo invites you into his studio, doodles, and teaches you how to draw.
  • RAZ Kids
    Interactive, leveled ebooks 400+ eBooks and open-book eQuizzes. Corresponding eQuizzes test comprehension, providing teachers with skill reports for data-driven instruction. Online running records let teachers digitally assess each student. Learning Ally is providing free subscriptions for RAZ kids and Headsprout through the end of the school year.
  • Scholastic Resources - Free for short term  
  • Start with a Book The free resources from Start with a Book build on what young children already like — dinosaurs, building, animals, sports, superheroes and music — so that parents, and others can have fun and interact meaningfully with children while helping to strengthen their reading skills.
  • Story Online    The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.
  • Vooks Books  Kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. Teacher guides are available for many titles.


    • ABCMouse  Age of Learning provides schools closed due to the coronavirus with free home access for all affected families to leading digital education programs ABCmouse, Adventure Academy, and ReadingIQ. Programs serve students in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Code:SCHOOL2568
  • Freckle Created by Renaissance, can create a classroom, add students, and assign skills for free.  Aligned to TEKS, can target specific skills.


  • Lit2Go Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified. Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom. 

All Grade Levels


  • Publishers Weekly magazine for admin, teachers, library--articles, past bestsellers lists and the reviews database, which includes a search feature and the reviews listed by genre

·  Access your digital copy each week on Saturday here:

·  Access the reviews database here:

·  Access the archive here:

·  For technical help: 


Grade Band






All Grade Levels


Grade Band





Grade 8


Virtual Labs

Environmental Systems

All Grade Levels

Virtual Labs

**Many of the virtual labs utilize flash player which is being phased out.  Some browsers will still work until the end of 2020. 

Social Studies

Grade Band






  • History for Kids  Free online history network. The website is packed with articles, worksheets and even a quiz on each section

All Grade Levels




BedTime Math

Fun Math at Home: For ages 3-9 to explore numbers in real life without screen time

Bed Time Math:Daily-Math

Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. 

CIRCLE Activity Collection on CLI Engage   Activities for teachers to use during all settings (whole group, small group, etc.).  Activities are grouped according to content area and can be filtered by need(s); activities are scripted and printable, and many have videos to see the activity in action.  All activities include the Texas Pre-K Guideline and Head Start Alignment they cover. While these are not actual online activities, these can be downloaded by teachers, saved, and emailed to parents to use at home.  Available in English and Spanish.

CIRCLE Activity Collection: Family  Similar to the CIRCLE Activity Collection (CAC) for teachers, this is created specifically for parents/families to have access to cognitive activities games to play with children.  Activities can be filtered by age and content area. This site includes activities for children birth – 5 years old. Great resource for Pre-K teachers to share with families! Available in English and Spanish. - Games are categorized by subject, topic; Teachers will need to compare listed CC standards to TEKS to insure alignment.

Khan Academy Kids


Ages 2-7; Teachers will need to align to TEKS


Scholastic Resources - Free for short term 

Starfall Online activities for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Many letter Knowledge activities, pre-reading, phonics, and some math activities/games are free online.  Under the Parent-Teacher Center tab, there are customizable ELA and Math sheets that can be created and sent to parents.

Happy Numbers

Website that has the ability for individualized learning pathways, scaffolding, and instant feedback along with providing data that gives teachers actionable insights. It is available in English and Spanish.

Career and Technical Education

Agriculture and Manufacturing



Reality Works

Hydroponics and Plant Science:

Bovine and Swine Skills:

Animal Models:

3D Classroom Posters:

Trade Skills




Family and Consumer Sciences



Receive Content 

   Reality Works

Infant Simulators:

Reproduction and Pregnancy:

Child Care Education:




Business, Marketing and Finance



Receive Content 

All Areas



CTE Online

  •  Go to page and create a free account. Thousands of CTE and academic core lesson plans. Hundreds of Project-Based Learning and STEM Integrated Projects. Course outlines you can copy, modify and make your own.

Texas Labor Market and Career Information



Texas Workforce 


Main Link:


Jobs Y'all   Anything is possible – that’s what Jobs Y’all is all about. Jobs Y’all is where you can explore good-paying and meaningful careers in growing industries. Here, you’ll discover rewarding and satisfying jobs right in your hometown or elsewhere in Texas. Find the career that matches your interests and goals. Your career starts here.


Texas Internship Challenge   The Texas Internship Challenge is a partnership between the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas Education Agency (TEA) and The Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), who challenge employers to offer paid internships and make it easy for students to search and apply for them.


Texas Reality Check   It's difficult to predict the future, but it's never too early to start planning for it. Texas Reality Check will show you how much your living expenses will cost, and the amount of money you will need to earn to pay for them.


Texas Career Check   Our newest online tool, Texas Career Check offers information on hundreds of job titles, pay information, and future projected jobs, this interactive website can help answer your education and career exploration questions.


Texas Work Prep   Whether you're looking for a job for the first time, seeking tips to succeed in your current job, or wanting to land a new job, this set of online courses can help you get there.


State Training Inventory   STI is designed to assist customers locate education and workforce training programs, see the connection between education and occupations, and estimate the formal supply of skilled workers.


Texas CREWS   Tell us what college you want to attend, what you want to study, and we'll tell you what you could make in that field, and how much you could owe when you graduate.


Texas OnCourse   Texas OnCourse empowers you—pre-K through grade 12 students, parents, teachers, and counselors—to make decisions that will help you, your child or your students succeed after high school.

Health Science



Reality Works  Access Your Guides and Curriculum


Skills Training Tools:


Anatomical Models:

Moulage Training Tools:




Geriatric Care:

Special Education



Virtual Activities 

LiveBinder for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students

For Deaf or Hard of Hearing students of all grade levels

LID Online Curriculum Resources

Resources for Students with Visual Impairments

UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Tech Toolkit


Multimedia and Digital Storytelling Tools:

Math Tools and Resources:

Writing Tools and Resources:

Literacy Tools and Resources:

Audio Book Resources:

Research Tools:




National Geographic

National Geographic Learning is collaborating with The College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University to deliver a special three-part webinar series called Online Teaching for English Language Learning Teachers:

    • Part 1: Engaging Students in Meaningful Learning Activities
    • Part 2: Making Your Screen Come Alive
    • Part 3: Building a Supportive Learning Environment

Drawing on their research and teaching experience, Drs. Joan Kang Shin and Jered Borup from George Mason University share practical tips for breaking through your screen and engaging your English language students in ways that improve their learning and makes your students feel part of a supportive learning community, even when attending classes online. We are going to deliver these webinars beginning next week.  

Microsoft Translator

The Translator for Education site provides free resources, tools, and how-to guides for live captioning and translation in the classroom. Schools are increasingly diverse. Teachers manage many types of learners, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) who require assistive technology, and language learners (and their parents) who may not speak or understand the language of the classroom well. Microsoft Translator helps bridge these communication gaps, supporting accessible classroom learning with live captioning, cross-language understanding, and even multilingual casual conversations to help with student integration.

Mexican Government School Textbook Commission

The Federal Public Administration that efficiently produces and promptly distributes free textbooks and other educational materials and solutions determined by the Ministry of Public Education, in print or in digital distribution, to all students enrolled in the National Education System without exception.  The textbooks are in Spanish and are free to use digitally.  


SoundCloud is a music and podcast streaming platform that lets you listen to millions of songs from around the world, or upload your own. This link has the different songs from Jose Luis Orozco in English and Spanish.  Start listening now! Grade Band: Pre-K through 5th 

Brain Pop ELL


Proficiency-based English language learning program appropriate for all ages.

Vocabulary • Grammar • Listening • Reading & Writing School districts and families can sign up for free access. 

Brain Pop Educators

BrainPOP offers developmentally appropriate on- and offline activities and ideas that are simple, meaningful, and best of all… fun!  And, if you’re an educator, click the Distance Learning Lesson Pack.

The Indianapolis Public Library

Listed are more than 100 video read alongs from old classics like Where the Wild Things Are to newer favorites like Little Jumbo.  Your child will have enough stories to get them through the longest doctor’s appointment wait, oil change, or holiday dinner with too many adults! In addition, this listening library is available every day for returning to old favorites. “Read it again!” has never been easier! Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Read Brightly

This site contains video read alouds with diverse books about different topics. Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Story Time from Space

Story Time from Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation.

They send children’s books to the International Space Station.  While in space, astronauts videotape themselves reading these books to the children of Earth. These videos are edited and placed on this Story Time From Space website- look under the heading “Story Time Videos”.  Astronauts on the ISS also conduct and videotape educational demonstrations designed by Veteran Canadian Astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, to complement the science concepts found in the Story Time From Space books – look under the heading “Science Time Videos”. Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Kid Lit TV

KidLit TV is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, and one of the American Library Association’s Great Websites For Kids. KLTV is available in over 600,000 schools worldwide via our website and video distribution partners. We’re a diverse group of parents, educators, librarians, kid lit creators, and award-winning filmmakers working together to create fun new ways to reinforce an appreciation of reading that children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  Provides several Read Aloud Videos.Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Story Online

Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day for children, parents, caregivers and educators worldwide. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners. Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Brightly Storytime Flip Along

Watch the pages turn as the story is read aloud. Stories include I'm a Truck, My First Counting Book, The Color Kittens, Colors Are Nice, and Madeline. A new story is released every week! Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Unite for Literacy


At Unite for Literacy, we picture a world where all children have access to an abundance of books that celebrate their languages and cultures and cultivate a lifelong love of reading.  Unite for Literacy has developed the platform, publishing tools, and systems-based strategies that support our public and private sector partners to change the literacy landscape of their communities and optimize the future for all their young children. Our projects build home libraries and support families to develop a daily habit of reading, both of which are key factors in growing lifelong readers.  The books and narration in English and Spanish. Some narration is available in multiple languages such as Chinese and Arabic. Grade Band: Pre-K - 5

Mental Health Resources



Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Excellent resources and information on managing stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, focuses on helping children cope.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Updates w/ focus on maintaining our mental health:

Detailed guidebook for coping w/ the COVID-19 outbreak:

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO guidebook on mental health/psychosocial considerations for adults and children alike:

Stress management for children:

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Talking to children about coronavirus:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA)

Talking w/ children re: infectious disease outbreaks; tips for parents, teachers, and caregivers:

Managing stress re: infectious diseases:

Department of Education (DOE)

On providing services to children w/ disabilities during the coronavirus outbreak:

American Counseling Association (ACA)

Assorted resources for professionals:

Aunt Bertha

By simply entering a zip code, the site will find food, counseling, health, housing, legal, job training and much more in the area.  

Providing Online Content



Discovery Education

standards-based digital curriculum resources for K–12 classrooms worldwide

Discovery Education is offering schools and school systems not currently using our digital services free access to Discovery Education Experience in the event of a closure. Schools accepting this offer will have access to K-12 learning platform and its ready-to-use digital lesson plans, activities, and standards-aligned resources through the remainder of the school year.


iPad app is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool that you can use to create whiteboard-style videos that your students can watch on their computers, tablets, and phones.

Company is offering free Educreations Pro upgrades to teachers through May 1, 2020. This offer is not available for current Educreations Pro subscribers.

FriEd Technology Transition to Teaching Learning Online

From FriEd Tech: Teaching Online Crash Course: Schools all over the nation and world are moving to online learning, and we're hearing from teachers that there is a knowledge gap that needs filling immediately. That's why this week we're starting a series of free webinars with the top questions we've been asked. Please pass this along to friends and colleagues who may share your concerns about online teaching and learning.

See the schedule slide with live links by clicking here.


Teachers create grids (classrooms) with topics. Grids are the meeting place for your classroom, your school, your department or any learning community to discuss your Topics. Flipgrid Educator’s Guide

Google Classroom

Getting Started Guide 

Short videos to help teachers get started with Google Classroom


From Kahoot!: While our free version enables distance learning, we want to make sure educators have all the tools they need to fully engage students outside of the classroom.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide to distance learning and why we’re providing schools affected by the coronavirus with free access to Kahoot! Premium for the remaining months of the academic year.

With Kahoot! Premium, educators can use advanced question types, collaborate with colleagues, and access in-depth reports, which can be used for formative assessment.
To access Kahoot! Premium for free, please click here. 

Loom Screencasting tool to capture lessons on screen
COVID-19 Response: Cutting prices, removing limits, free for education. Learn more


From Scholastic: This free resource provides all students with 20* days’ worth of exciting learning journeys that span the content areas created by our editors to keep your students actively engaged in learning while school is closed. Your students will have access to approximately three hours of meaningful learning opportunities per day, including projects based on articles and stories, virtual field trips, reading and geography challenges, and so much more.

Screencastify Screencasting tool to capture lessons on screen
In January, we began working closely with hundreds of schools that have closed due to coronavirus. This page is meant to collect, distill, and share the best practices that have been implemented by those educators. 

Texas Instruments

Software – TI software can be used to demo functionality, have students interact with activities, create videos for your students, etc. Curriculum Alignment – TI has aligned all of our FREE resources to the TEKS. Use the attached documents to download activities ready for teachers and students to use to explore the mathematics. 

TI-84 Smartview Software – 90 Day Trial

 TI-Nspire Premium Teacher Software – 90 Day Trial

TI-Nspire Student Software – 30 Day Trial (Next week they will offer a 90 day, but wanted to get this out for now)


K-12 School Verification Form

Zoom is temporarily lifting the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus. Here’s how to get access for your school.


Here’s a link for a free trial for the rest of the school year:

 We have a number of resources available to support teachers in the event of a school closure here: We are also offering a free webinar series to help teachers keep students engaged and learning while they are at home.

Internet Safety



It provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children be safer online with the goal of helping children to become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline. 

Be Internet Awesome with Google
The Be Internet Awesome Family Guide gives families the tools and resources to learn about online safety and citizenship at home. We’ve created this guide for families to make it easier to incorporate and practice good digital habits in your everyday lives. Packed with good stuff, this guide will help you and your kids discuss, learn, and think about online safety together.

Securly Web Filter

Keep your students safe on all devices with Securly’s signature cloud-based web filter. Get full visibility into online activity, download or email reports, and receive notifications for flagged content with the most sophisticated AI engine in student safety. 


If you’re not a current GoGuardian customer, we’re offering free, full-functional access to GoGuardian’s entire suite of tools through the end of the school year.  This includes at-home web filtering, classroom management, device management, and student safety tools to support you as you transition to remote learning. New users can deploy in as little as 15 minutes. 



Gifted and Talented



Texas Performance Standards  A collection of projects for GT and advanced students that includes all necessary resources. These projects are TEKS-aligned and vetted by the Texas Education Agency.





Bookshare Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading. (link for parents and at-home learning)

Dyslexia Technology Plan  Technology Integration for Students with Dyslexia - free or low-cost


Here’s a link for a free trial for the rest of the school year:

They have a number of resources available to support teachers here: We are also offering a free webinar series to help teachers keep students engaged and learning while they are at home.

Learning Ally 

Learning Ally App Free audio books for students with reading disabilities/struggles.  This resource requires the student to have an account set up by the school. 

Mindplay  MindPlay programs were developed by experts in language, literacy, and assessment.  Students experience a virtual one-on-one session with a reading specialist each time they log on.  MindPlay is offering 30 days as a free trial in response to COVID 19.  

Nessy  Nessy programs are designed to help students of all abilities learn to read, write, spell and type, especially those who learn differently, including:

  • Mainstream
  • EAL
  • Homeschool
  • Students with dyslexia

Note: Schools must set up the free account.

Project Gutenberg Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online.

Really Great Reading Free resources until April 14.  

Study Island  Study Island for Home enhances learning and helps your kids catch up or stay ahead. Parents, get trusted K-12 programs tailored specifically to your state standards.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 we're offering 1 Year Free to new accounts.

Talking Books 

TeXQuest TexQuest provides access to authoritative digital resources for educators, students, and students' immediate families in Texas K-12 public schools and open-enrollment charter schools. (Each district has a unique username and password.)

Supports for Lesson Components

Phonological Awareness  Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research

Alphabet  Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research

Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research

Review Decks  Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research

Reading Practice Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research Resources from the Florida Center for Reading Research

Handwriting Practice

Spelling Practice

Extended Reading Practice  FreeReading Illustrated Decodable fiction passages FreeReading Illustrated Decodable non-fiction passages  Phonics Books

The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids

​ ​by Becky Mansfield

In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids.   We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years.   Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core.   This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.


The results of that should scare all of us.

  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt “sad, hopeless, useless… that they couldn’t do anything right (depression).”
  • They felt left-out and lonely.
  • There is a 50% increase in a clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • A substantial increase in suicide rate.Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how the information correlates to the iPhones being released. They aren’t hanging out with friends nearly as much.


They aren’t dating as much.

SaveMore likely to feel lonely.


They are getting less sleep.

Think about when we were in school – we didn’t know every time that there was a get-together that we weren’t invited to and we didn’t see pictures of each outing, game, or party.

We didn’t care what we looked like when we were hanging out with friends, because we were  the only ones that were there- I can remember sitting around with my best friends in our sweatpants, just laughing – I didn’t wear makeup or care if I had my hair fixed just right, because the worry of a phone or camera wasn’t there.

Think about bullies.  When we left the school, we left them.   If teasing happened, it didn’t happen at home.  It didn’t happen so publicly.   Everyone couldn’t see it or know what they were teasing other kids about since they weren’t there.  Now, it’s all public knowledge, and anyone can join in or watch.   It’s horrifying.

I can’t imagine being a tween or teenager now.   Although- as the parents of children, we have to believe it, because we have to help our children navigate it. 


According to Victoria Prooday, Occupational Therapist & writer at, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children… Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

She goes on to say that “Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments”
    How true… and how sad.

I couldn’t agree more.  According to, “Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. ”

The article goes on to say that it’s not just teenagers, it’s young kids- in elementary school.  “Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls.

“I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school, and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.” 


What can we do about it?

– The AAP now suggest screening all children for depression starting at age 11.

-Get back to what we did before phones (back to what our parents did when we were young)… spend time playing games with our kids.

-Spend dinnertime talking.

-Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home from school to TALK to them.

-Make dinner without having the TV on, the phone close by, or the tablet tuned into something.

-Use any ‘car time’ to talk to our kids (maybe even by not allowing electronics in the car)

-Have your kids do chores: Responsibilities increase their self-worth.   Example: if you don’t set the table, we can’t eat.  If you don’t wash your clothes, you will have nothing to wear tomorrow:
“To develop a high self-esteem a person needs a purpose. A key component to high self-esteem relies on how you view yourself regarding contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem.” ~Impact Parenting.coms

-Be sure that your child is getting enough sleep.   This is a substantial contributing factor.  screening all children for depression

-Don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house.  Limit junk food & replace it with fruits & vegetables.  If your child is picky, they can certainly find a fruit or vegetable that they like.  (I’ve taught our kids to make smoothies, too, but they have to clean up after themselves, or they lose the privilege of using the blender… they LOVE to make them, so this is a consequence that they will not want to be placed on them).

Take away electronics and tell your kids to “go play!”   Don’t feel the need to always play with them.  My job, as a play therapist, is to teach parents how to play with their kids to help them, so while I always think that playing with your kids is a good idea, but I also want them to play alone.  I want them to learn how to keep themselves entertained.

From the time that our kids were tiny, I gave them time to entertain themselves, and now they are are all good about finding ways to keep themselves busy (drawing, playing, building, etc..)

– Don’t rescue your kids.   Here’s a recent example that happened in our house:
I’ve started having our kids pack their lunches (with my supervision), but yesterday one of our sons decided to wait.. .and wait… and wait.  When it was down to 10 minutes before leaving, he asked me to pack it.  I said no, and he then asked for lunch money.  I said, “I think it’s upstairs in your piggy bank if you have some in there.” His face said it all.   I wasn’t going to buy him out of this.  It was his responsibility.

IT is NEVER easy to teach our kids these lessons, but they serve our kids well.   He quickly made himself lunch and was on his way.   He learned a valuable life lesson about preparing himself for the day.

-Talk to your kids about why they need to come to you if something is wrong.  I talk to our kids about all of this, and they know that I would do anything to help them.   I say it daily… “If you are ever feeling sad or left out about something and it becomes too big for you to handle easily, come to me.”

Yes, it’s a lot to tell them, but it is the truth.  I need them to know it.  It’s not a joking matter, and it’s not one to take lightly. Talk to your kids TODAY.

Make a rule with yourself that you will limit YOUR online distractions when your kids are home. Set a time that you can put electronics away… for example: Make 3:30-9:00 a no-tech time for you, the parent.   (or whatever hours your kids are home). It will not only benefit your kids, but it will help you, too.