April 2020

A publication of the Howard County Office of Children and Families
Family Institute
Keeping Kids Active

Now that playgrounds and common spaces are closed, the options for children getting exercise has dwindled. Research shows that exercise is a great way to be healthy, decrease anxiety and give your mind a break from everyday stressors. Some neighborhoods are playing scavenger hunts so families can walk around and see sidewalk chalk drawings, look for pictures posted in windows or play I-Spy to find stuffed animals hidden in yards. Inside, you can u se favorite music that your children like to listen and move to or check out the options below to get their energy out.

Cosmic Kids Yoga Videos in both English and Spanish
9 Indoor Activities for Active Kids from Understood Organization
Columbia Association Videos for adults on the CA Facebook page
At this time, The Howard County Food Bank located at 9385 Gerwig Lane in Columbia, will be providing pre-packaged bags of food to clients, in order to practice social distancing and protect the well-being of staff and clients. Partnering with the Howard County Diaper Project, diapers of various sizes may also be available upon request. For more information, visit: www.cac-hc.org/programs-services/food-assistance/. New clients should bring identification and proof of Howard County residency for their first visit.

Food Bank hours:
Tuesdays : 1 to 4 p.m./ Wednesdays : 1 to 4 p.m./ 5 to 8 p.m. (by appointment only)
Thursdays: 1 to 4 p.m./ Saturdays: 9 a.m. to noon (by appointment only)

The Community Action Council of Howard County is also creating Pop up Food Pantries throughout the County. Both food donations and financial support is needed. Maintain social distancing and MD's 'stay at home' directive and donate online .
Free Grab-N-Go meals

The Howard County Public School System will continue to provide free Grab-N-Go meals to anyone age 18 and under and/or any HCPSS student, regardless of age, throughout state-mandated school closures, extended through April 24. Meals are available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., weekdays
(No meal service April 10 or 13.)

Parents have the option of collecting meals for their children, who do not need to be present.  Participants will be given a Grab-N-Go snack, lunch and dinner for that day, as well as a Grab-N-Go breakfast for the following day. Participants are encouraged to bring a bag to carry home meals each day. Friday distributions at school locations also will include weekend meals. To view the e xpanded locations for meal distribution click here.
Child Care for Essential Employees

If you are an essential employee in need of childcare amid the coronavirus outbreak, the county provides additional guidance. To date, Howard County has 150 approved child care sites. For a directory of approved providers’ information and availability; the types of employment eligible for this program; and how to register, click here.
Howard County Library System is closed but continues to offer online support for learning. All online materials are FREE and are easily accessible from home with your library card at www.hclibrary.org

If you do not yet have a library card, apply online and use the temporary number for immediate use. Howard County Public School System students may continue to access eContent using their A+ student accounts.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library presents Dolly’s new weekly read-aloud video series called, " Goodnight with Dolly ," The Book Lady sits down to read books from the Imagination Library to children and families. It launches on April 2 at 7 p.m. This 10-week series will focus on comforting and reassuring children during the shelter-in-place mandates. Dolly hopes these videos will provide a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest, and also inspire a love of reading and books in the hearts of children.
Social stories are a good way to explain difficult concepts to children. There are free online social stories available to share with your children to help talk about social distancing and why they must stay home.

Why Can't I Go to School by Conscious Discipline
For very young children (in 18 languages)
For young school age children (in over 9 languages)
(Video) By Kim St. Lawrence
Family Time - Sibling Fighting

The increased amount of time that families are spending together as they shelter in their homes has an impact on family dynamics. This continuous time together can increase the amount of conflicts between siblings. Ideas to help to mitigate family discord such as praising the positive, getting to the root of the problem, and making a plan, can be found in the Child Mind article, When Siblings Won't Stop Fighting .

Teach children to calm themselves and get along:
Tucker Takes Time to Tuck and Think at Home English an d Spanish
Help Us Stay Calm Chart English and Spanish
Peer Mediation Skills and Social Supports English and Spanish
Difficult Conversations
Conscious Discipline's Free Resources

Children have a lot of questions and concerns as the world around us is changing. Many of these conversations can be addressed in Responding to Difficult Questions . This article is filled with complementary print-offs, a social story, webinar, and examples of dialogue to assist with conversations with children.

This article provides ideas on helping build positive connection with your children. The information helps parents understand and work with children's behaviors and provides printables, social stories and videos to help you in the process.

Articles from Child Mind Institute
Daily tips presented on Child Mind's Facebook page
Webinar Recordings from Parent Encouragement Program

Talking with Kids about the Coronavirus : English or Spanish
Parenting Survival Strategies in the Age of the Coronavirus: English or Spanish
Digital Sanity Summit
Navigating Technology in the Modern World of Parenting.
Free through April 3. Register here.
Free webinar recording for families from Bright & Quirky

  • How to deal with anxiety, stress and worry in both kids and parents
  • How to create daily family structure, especially if you're working from home
  • How to approach potential regression in therapies or academics
  • How to develop strengths and interests, family connection and life skills
  • How to create community in these challenging times
Education Resources
Maryland Public Television provides safe, adult-led activities for young children and independent student learning resources for students in grades PreK-12. Visit Thinkport to see information such as Daniel Tiger games, local geography and research modules. Visit PBS Kids Channel for additional information.

Free academic resources for children of all ages to learn online. Khan Academy offers personalized practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Topics cover math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

To learn about this site, parents can start with a recorded webinar that provides guidance about using Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids. Also available, the FAQ for parents , Sal’s daily Homeroom livestream on Facebook and YouTube that provide the ability to ask questions in real time and more at the Parent Resource Center .

The quick start guides help parents set up their child's account in 15 minutes or less. (Guides for children 2 to 7 , for children under 12 , and for children over 13 ).
Once children are ready, Sal’s daily schedules for learners ages 2 to 18 can help build routines and keep learning during school closures.
Ready Rosie
Looking for fun, easy ideas to make everyday moments learning moments? Turn to Ready Rosie for hundreds of short educational videos to gain ideas of what you can do with your child. This resource for children five and under is available in English and Spanish. If you don't have Ready Rosie yet, c lick here to get free access.

This free, online resource supports families to find high-quality resources quickly, easily and in one place. Curated by the experts at Common Sense Media, this collaboration is among leading publishers, nonprofits, education and technology companies. Wide Open School features a free collection of the best learning experiences and activities for kids, organized by grade and subject . Also find daily schedules with creative breaks and recommendations to keep kids engaged and exploring.
C hild and A dolescent R esources and E ducation
410-313-CARE (2273) (voice/ relay) or children@howardcountymd.gov

Howard County provides a FREE information and referral service for people who have questions about children in Howard County. The CARE line staff works with families to identify their needs and help find solutions. Topics include: county resources, behavior issues, finding child care, school age programs and camps, child care assistance, special needs, parenting classes, health/mental health concerns, grandparent support, financial assistance, and support groups.
HoCo Counts, 2020 Census

Amid this current crisis , we ask that all residents complete the census online. One of the most historically under-counted populations are children under five years old. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure each child is counted. For every person not counted, Howard County loses approximately $18,250. These dollars go towards school lunches, education, roads, healthcare, and other critical services that may directly affect your family and the community. Respond to the census at https://my2020census.gov . If you have any questions, call 410-313-6325 (voice/relay), or visit https://howardcountymd.gov/2020census .
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