This newsletter connects faculty, staff, students, and retirees to Cornell-sponsored family-friendly events, activities, workshops, and services. It is distributed twice a month. Brought to you by Work/Life in the Division of Human Resources.
Greetings from Work/Life!
Dear Cornell families,

Since the last Parenting Newsletter, much has changed in the world, in our community, with our jobs, and in our personal lives. As we try to adapt, shift, and juggle (an endless list of verbs could be used!), it is so important that we be patient with (and help) ourselves, our colleagues, and our family members along the way.

Moving forward, this newsletter will be published on a weekly basis during school/child care closures and COVID-19 concerns. With the closure and cancellations also come new support services and programs in our community and through Cornell that we want to keep you informed of.

In addition to this newsletter, follow the Working at Cornell Facebook Page and read the weekly faculty and staff newsletter/website for the latest news.

You may also visit the HR Website for a list of campus and community resources related to caregiving, mental and physical health, and meal and prescription delivery.

Take good care of yourselves and please email us at if we can help you in any way.

Michelle Artibee, Diane Bradac, & Amy Layton
Work/Life, Cornell Human Resources
Cornell Activities for Children & Families
Daily Story Hour with the Cornell Child Care Center
Begins Wednesday, March 25th
Click to join by Zoom
No pre-registration required!

Join animated and caring Cornell Child Care Center teachers as they take Cornell children on a journey through story telling.

During the first half hour the book selections will be geared toward infants and toddlers and the second half hour geared toward preschool/young elementary school. Drop in and out as desired! 
Science & Nature for Cooped Up Kids 
Sign up to receive free science and nature ideas for cooped up kids! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology K-12 Education team is working to support families as they adjust to school closures and working from home. We know that many of you are looking for ready-to-go resources tailored for at home learning. Every week on Fridays we'll be releasing fun and engaging activities to keep your children's bodies and minds active.
Other activities to explore...
Cornell Library offers a large number of no cost streaming videos that may be both educational and entertaining during this more isolated time. From Shakespeare to history documentaries, you can find a little bit of everything!

Kanopy offers movies, documentaries and courses, and is free to Cornell ID holders through Cornell Library.

Looking for concerts, cooking classes, or workouts online? Check out CornellCast - they even have the latest Cornell fashion show if you have kids interested in fashion!

Why not try your hand at making movies? Get the whole family involved and create some wonderful memories! Cornell Library has some guides to help you get started!
Adapting to Remote Work
If you are working remotely, you may be facing new challenges and stressors in being productive with your work while also ensuring your child(ren) are safe and well.

Some employees will have success with maintaining schedules, others do better with greater flexibility. Some have more rigid home school plans and assignments, while others do not! Whatever your remote experience involves, be careful to not place unrealistic expectations on yourself and your family members. This is a challenging time that will take time to adapt to and that is perfectly ok!

  1. Schedule virtual dates with grandparents, family members, classmates, and other friends. Have children and adults read to each other, do an activity together, or simply keep the camera on while being present - especially during a meeting you would like to focus on.
  2. Communicate availability, expectations, and needs with your partner and/or other adults in the home.
  3. Make a clock with your child that has hour and minute hands. Show them where the hands will be when they can expect you will take a break to connect with them.
  4. Use headphones and a phone to participate in Zoom meetings - this gives you flexibility in checking on your children in other rooms and gets you moving!
  5. Have a bottle, snacks, or other items ready before the start of a meeting (try to schedule short breaks between meetings to allow everyone to get situated).
  6. If your child (or pet!) interrupts your work meeting by popping on camera, don't be embarrassed - introduce your child and go forward with the meeting. If you need to leave for a moment, pause your camera and sound and attend to your child's needs.
  7. Unplug after work - while it can be tempting to remain connected, it is especially important to disengage with work and engage with your family - for everyone's wellbeing.

Got a tip? Have questions about remote work?
Contact Work/Life at

Cornell Wellness remote activities and programs during COVID
General COVID-19 Parenting Tips
Establish a routine
If you haven't done this already, developing a routine and some sense of consistency can be comforting for family members. If your children are old enough to participate, involve them in creating a realistic and predictable schedule for the days ahead. Include school work, screen time, reading time, outdoor activities, meals, snacks, chores, bedtime, new and creative family activities, etc.

Care for the mental health of yourself and your family
Social distancing (we like "physical distancing, social connectedness!") is a stressful experience all. Ask children about their feelings. Children may be watching and reacting to your responses, so try to maintain calm and keep your own stress level in check. There are great  online guidelines  providing advice on how best to share this  information  in an age appropriate way.

Be deliberate about physical movement and meals
Our bodies need good nutrition, movement, sleep, and relaxation. Consider a family walk, bike ride, or other outdoor activity that is considered safe.

Stay connected with your child’s teacher/school
Even though children are on break from their traditional classrooms, there may still be expectations for school assignments.

Build learning time into your child’s day, if appropriate
Think about incorporating actual school lessons; screen time with educational apps, videos, and podcasts;  virtual field trips ; and/or nature exploration. Read a book together, or listen together to book on line. A good go-to for good suggestions and reviews of apps and games by ages can be found at  Common Sense Media . Many companies are offering  free subscriptions  right now.

Stay connected
Although social distancing means no in-person play dates, children can benefit from social connections with family and friends through Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc. Children may enjoy shared online games and online learning experiences.

Family Resources
Sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, this group provides family activities, tips, and resources.

Provides ongoing support and encouragement to parents and has already been a good source of information and ideas.

Child Development Council of Tompkins & Cortland County
Coordinates childcare services for Tompkins County and has childcare referral specialists that may be able to help you explore and obtain childcare options.

Helps individuals and their caregivers understand caregiving resources available.
Mental Health Support
Provides Cornell employees services at no cost for up to three visits to benefits eligible employees and family members.  Available 24/7, licensed mental health professionals provide counseling for a variety of stressors and needs. 

Cornell benefits eligible employees, retirees, and spouses/partners may contact the FSAP by phone to obtain free support. FSAP is now offering virtual sessions for employees. Also see Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic  handout by FSAP.

Services are covered by both Aetna and the Empire Plan. Learn more at
Join the Ithaca Doula Collective and other new parents in our community for a virtual meet-up every Tuesday afternoon!

Bringing home a baby or exploring life during the first year postpartum is an unpredictable and often isolating time...without the implications of a pandemic. While this will be more of an open forum to share your experiences, ask questions, and offer advice to one another, we will also be sharing resources and ideas to best support you throughout this unprecedented time.

We plan to "meet" each Tuesday afternoon from 2-3pm for the next 4 weeks, but may extend these sessions into the Spring if warranted. Meeting ID: 653034794
How to Help Others
WEBINAR: Cornell Children's Tuition Scholarship (CCTS)
Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10:00 to 11:30 am

Do you have a senior who is interested in attending college next fall? Have you just become eligible for the benefit and would like to know more about the program? Please join us for this webinar that offers information about eligibility, award values, application and payment processes. A representative of Benefit Services will host the webinar. 

Please register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Questions? Contact Michelle La Fave .
Cornell Pantry Hours
Free, confidential access to food and personal care items is available to Cornell staff and faculty.  The  Cornell Food Pantry continues to maintain its regular operating hours. They will be closed for spring break, and then resume regular hours on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-7 pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 10 am-1 pm, and Sundays 12-3 pm). It is located at 109 McGraw Place, just off University Avenue, across from Alice Cook House on West Campus. 

You must enroll to participate. For more information, please email the Food Pantry .
Interested in more parenting-related community events/activities?
Have a question or a resource to share with others?
Learn more about the interactive email lists available and join today!