Resources For Parents

Sharing words of wisdom from a Superintendent in our community…

Coping with change is hard for most people. Not being able to plan for next week or even next month is uniquely hard. When we are required to face the unknown, not be in control, it’s normal for all of us, adults and children, to feel out of sync, hard to settle; the psychological term for this is “emotional dis-regulation.”

Here are some tips to help everyone feel calmer and less irritable as we learn incrementally how to live with the change of feeling isolated while being “too together” all at once:

1. Your children are actively paying attention to how you feel, talk and behave. Even very young children look to you first to know whether they should worry or not. They listen to your words, your tone, watch your actions, they react to your moods. They eavesdrop on your communications with others and come to their own (often mistaken) conclusions.

That said, it’s pretty safe to assume that this pandemic is unique to all our experiences. It’s normal that as information is updated hourly, and recommendations change daily, adults may feel that our world is upside down and inside out – our anxiety is normal.
What can you do about it?

Talking with another caring adult about your feelings is helpful (out of the children’s earshot); reminding yourself of other times in your life when you have felt anxious and uncertain about the future can be reassuring; creating a plan for your family just for today and tomorrow may be productive and doable-looking further down the road may not be possible and lead you to feel more out of control.

2. Create a routine for the day. Even a schedule, for example, when we will play together, and time to play independently. (Of course, this will depend on your child’s age and capacity to play alone. A timer works well here). Time for family mealtimes, clean up, predictable bedtimes, nap times (for both kids and grown ups), some form of exercise, indoors or if possible, in your backyard. Other planned time for reading, screen time, family movie time, game time.

If children are old enough, and you have enough bandwidth, opportunities to help with meal preparation, clean up.

3. Limit your own access to media coverage. Information, when delivered calmly and by a trustworthy source, typically helps us feel more in control. It’s necessary to be informed so that we can keep up with the changes and required adjustments. That said, a steady diet of news, 24/7, creates its own layer of stress. Decide when and how often you will get your information from media sources. Choose from a host of other more soothing “background electronic wallpapers” that may even entertain, inspire, educate. It is said that music “calms the savage beast within.”

4. Talk with your children about changes only as they affect your family’s day-to-day living. Children by nature are egocentric; for instance, “How will this affect me?” Knowing the new rules of the road for this unique family experience is important. Simple explanations are best. Letting children ask questions as they arise, rather than prompting them, or assuming their feelings, is helpful. Try not to anticipate how their lives may be affected weeks or months from now. It’s about today.

5. Development matters. How your child understands and reacts to new information from you will vary but their age and stage will help guide you to understand their reaction(s):

Very young children, 3-6 years old, require only the simplest of explanations about what’s happening today as it affects them. Remember that routines are reassuring to everyone, especially toddlers and preschoolers. “Mommy is working at home today” is enough for many children.

Early elementary age children may have more questions and concerns about the pandemic than their younger siblings. Let them lead you with their questions; answer simply and clearly, always reminding them that it’s your job to keep the family safe. Although the virus is unlikely to affect your family, you may make decisions to protect others in your community.
Words like “contagious,” “social distancing,” “quarantines” may be unfamiliar to them. It’s important to speak in a reassuring way that is clear and simple. For example, “Staying home from school and work keeps the virus from spreading so we will be doing that. It just makes sense” or “I need to work from home and you have school work as well. Let’s talk about a plan for the rest of the day.”

Late elementary/middle school children may worry about their older and extended family members, or threatening financial situations. They may feel its “unfair” if their friends are allowed to gather in small groups but you have said no. Remind them that your rules are for their health and the health of others who may be more impacted; each family makes their own decisions for their own family’s well being.

Adolescents are able to understand the unlikely but possible negative health and financial impact that the Corona virus may have on their family, their community, both local and national.

That said, cancelled school may sound terrific at first but it carries with it cancelled sport seasons, plays and concerts they have rehearsed for months, anticipated school vacation trips. Without school and after school activities, they may feel depressed and anxious, isolated from their friends and routines. We know that adolescents fantasize about their “immortality.” Be sure to concretize the risks of “not physically distancing” and that they need to trust you to make the rules that will keep them safe from harm. Expect them to express their understandable disappointment, anger, confusion, worry, etc. (More) moodiness is pretty normal.

When you acknowledge their feelings and not attempt to minimize them, they may be able to sit with them, and even surprise you – by problem-solving ways to adapt. Isn’t that what we want for our adolescents?

6. Consider the marathon, not the sprint. The first days and weeks of a crisis summon up enormous amounts of energy (albeit it anxious) in all of us. We listen and react to our leaders (both local and national), health care providers, educators, and community helpers as they develop emergency plans, roll out procedures, and problem-solve.

If history informs, possibly very shortly, we will collectively feel as though we have hit a “wall of exhaustion” as we sort out how to sustain difficult, if not seemingly impossible, changes in our families’ lives, no matter how long these changes last. We grieve our lives before and yearn for them.
Taking care for ourselves now seems prudent. Today. You know how: practice healthy sleep, personal hygiene, mindful breathing (five minutes a day is all it takes!) Move our bodies, rest our minds, use technology to connect with others, discover ways to laugh, find meaning in sacrifice.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meetings

    Alcoholics Anonymous of Eastern Massachusetts has compiled a list of online meetings in the Commonwealth.

    Opens as a Google Doc.

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  • Child Care For Essential Employees - Frequently Asked Questions

    Emergency child care programs are available for the COVID-19 Essential Workforce.

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  • Child Care For Essential Employees - Application Form

    Emergency child care programs are available for the COVID-19 Essential Workforce.

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  • The Children's Trust Coronavirus Resources

    The Children's Trust and One Tough Job has published a list of carefully selected, up-to-date resources for Massachusetts parents, including resources, health and safety tips, and activities for kids.

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  • Commonwealth Psychology

    Online TelePsych virtual visits offer a convenient, easy way for clients to access psychological and psychiatric care via a secure video-conferencing system.

    Telephone: 844-437-7924

    Does not accept MassHealth or SUD-specific services

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  • Community Health Center of Cape Cod

    Community Health Center of Cape Cod is offering a variety of health services via the telehealth platform. Receive the health care you need while staying safe.

    Telephone: 508-477-7090

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    As the world’s leading expert on childhood, we’re here to help by providing tools and tips you can trust for parents, caregivers, teachers and all those who care about children in crisis.

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    Many parents have questions about how the coronavirus will affect the special education and related services their children are to receive, pursuant to the children's IEPs and 504 Plans.

    We have new information that will answer some of your questions and help get your child's special education back on track when schools re-open.

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    NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) published a comprehensive guide for information and resources relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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    Child support questions: (800) 332-2733, (617) 660-1234) (local callers)

    Tax questions (617) 887-6367 or (800) 392-6089 (toll-free in Massachusetts)

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  • DESE COVID-19 Fact Sheet

    UPDATED 3/26/19

    DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) published an updated FAQ regarding special education.

    Under "Information From Zoom Meetings" click on "Coronavirus/Covid-10 Frequently Asked Questions For Schools And Districts Regarding Special Education" to view the Word Document.

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  • Disaster Distress Helpline

    Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

    Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990, the

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  • Doctor On Demand For Harvard Pilgrim Members

    Harvard Pilgrim members can access virtual video visits with licensed doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists.

    Doctor on Demand Customer Support: 800-997-6196

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    Searchable database of Frequently Asked Questions for Harvard Pilgrim members accessing Doctor on Demand services.

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  • e-Psychiatry Telemedicine

    e-Psychiatry currently provides individuals, employers, clinics, hospitals and other mental health providers access to a online psychiatrist using telepsychiatry. We currently have several board certified psychiatrists and other mental health providers licensed in the state of Massachusetts.

    Telephone: 844-437-7924

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  • e-Psychiatry Telemedicine FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions for e-psychiatry services.

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  • FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control

    The purpose of this FEMA page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis, stay informed with our updated myth vs. facts related to the federal (COVID-19) response.

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    The Federation for Children with Special Needs has been a trusted resource for many decades for families of children with special needs and the professionals working with them. In this unsettling time, we will continue to support all of you by answering questions, problem-solving with partners and providing trusted resources and information. FCSN has developed the Frequently Asked Questions and Resources posted on this page.

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  • HealthPoint Plus

    We provide businesses and individuals with world-class telehealth services that save you time and money.

    General Representative Telephone: 978-515-CARE

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  • Helpline

    BAMSI’s Helpline links people in Plymouth County with essential services to help them achieve their basic needs.

    Helpline, in collaboration and partnership with community partners, acts as a community resource for individuals and families, particularly at times of financial instability.

    508-584-4357

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  • How to Avoid Passing on Anxiety to Your Kids

    Help yourself, and them, by learning techniques to manage stress in a healthy way.

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  • How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing

    Use these tips from Mental Health First Aid to take care of your mental health while practicing physical distancing.

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  • Humane Society Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

    We at the Humane Society of the United States are reeling from the changes happening in the world outside, as we know you are. We’re thinking about the people out there who are anxious, homebound or sick—and all of your animals too.

    This FAQ page will guide you through what you need to know to keep your pets health during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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  • Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

    NPR created a comic just for kids that explains the Coronavirus using colorful illustrations and easy to understand language.

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  • Massachusetts Advocates For Chilldren

    All children have the right to a free and appropriate public education, including during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Massachusetts Advocates For Children (MAC) is closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. Their resource page is being updated regularly as new information is provided.

    MAC's COVID-19 Education Helpline is open. If your child is facing barriers to their education in this challenging time, please call us at:

    617-357-8431 ext 3224 (English)
    617-357-8431 ext 3237 (Espanol)

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  • Massachusetts General Hospital Telehealth

    The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for TeleHealth enables community providers and Mass General clinicians to provide high-quality, coordinated care to patients and families through virtual technology including: phone, video, text, email, mobile applications and remote monitoring.

    General Telehealth: 617-724-2654

    Outpatient Psychiatry Department: 617-724-5600

    Outpatient Psychiatry Service Intake Access Line: 617-724-7792

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  • Massachusetts General Hospital Telehealth FAQ

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  • Massachusetts Health Connector Insurance Coverage

    Massachusetts Health Connector offers extended enrollment for uninsured individuals to ease coronavirus fears.

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  • Massachusetts Residents - Resources During COVID-19

    Resources and information for Massachusetts residents from the Office of the Attorney General. Topics include: your rights as an employee, health care and insurance, child care, student loans.

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  • Mental Health and COVID-19

    Information and resources from Mental Health America on maintaining your mental health during a time of crisis.

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  • NAMI Helpline

    NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is offering online resources surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The #COVID19 outbreak is leaving many feeling anxious, angry, sad, or scared. If you need to talk to someone, text NAMI to 741741 or call the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

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  • Narcotics Anonymous

    New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous has a listing of virtual meetings in the New England Region.

    Seek Support »
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline

    Call 1-800-799-7233

    TTY 1-800-787-3224

    Chat at thehotline.org

    Text LOVEIS to 22522

    Seek Support »
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

    Text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor

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  • Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope

    Provides information for parents and caregivers about infectious disease outbreaks in your community. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce stress and help calm likely anxieties. This resource will help parents and caregivers think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect their family— both physically and emotionally—and what they can do to help their family cope.

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  • Prescription Discount Card & Home Delivery

    Save On Your Prescriptions With Our Free Prescription Discount Card!

    Here are 3 steps for how people can call to help coordinate at home delivery of prescription medications:

    1. Call the FamilyWize toll free number at 800-222-2818

    2. A FamilyWize team member will work with you and your local participating pharmacy to arrange and schedule delivery to your home .

    3. Ask your pharmacist to apply your FamilyWize card number to receive a discount on your prescription.

    https://familywize.org/free-prescription-discount-card »
  • Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The CDC has issued interim guidance to help administrators of public and private childcare programs and K–12 schools plan for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff.

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  • School Closure Meal Information

    Google Docs list of places kids can get school lunches free across the state.

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  • The Social Care Network

    Enter your zip code to search for free or reduced cost services like medical care, food, job training, and more.

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  • Southcoast Health Patient Hotline

    Southcoast Health has established a 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline for patients who have symptoms, travel history, or exposure they are concerned may be related to the Coronavirus.

    Call 508-973-1919 for assessment, answers, and advice on next-steps. Our Nursing Triage Hotline will ensure you receive the appropriate level of care while safeguarding the public and Southcoast's workforce.

    Spanish and Portuguese-speaking interpreters are available.

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  • Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis

    Tips from Child Mind Institute for nurturing and protecting children at home.

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  • Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

    Guidelines and tips for talking with your children about COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

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  • Talking To Kids About Coronavirus

    HumanityCrew features a video on talking to kids about Coronavirus.

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  • Talking To Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus

    Experts offer advice on how parents can help adolescents get the facts straight and be prepared.

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  • Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak

    SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association) explains social distancing, quarantine, isolation, and ways to care for your behavioral health during these experiences.

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  • Unemployment Due to COVID-19?

    Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development published a step-by-step guide to applying for unemployment due to COVID-19.

    *links for Rhode Island and Connecticut are included, as well

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  • Well Connection for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Members

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts members can see licensed doctors and providers for minor medical and behavioral health care using live video visits on your favorite device.

    Telephone: 800-821-1388

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  • WiFi and Unlimited Data For Low Income Families

    For the next 60 days, Comcast is offering FREE nationwide access to Xfinity Wifi for low-income families to stay connected to the Internet for education, work, personal health reasons, and more. They will be providing 60 days of complimentary Internet service for new customers, and increasing speeds for new and existing customers.

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