• August 2020


    Dear Parents,

    First of all, you’re doing a good job! I promise. This is an incredibly difficult time to be a parent. At a time when our country faces unprecedented stressors in many aspects of our culture, the stress of COVID-19 can not be overstated. I hope that this reference page can assist you in finding resources to help you and your family cope with this inevitable stress. I have organized information into the following categories: COVID-19 and Kids - 101, Social/Emotional Learning, Health and Wellness, Behavior and Discipline, and Fun. Please email me at duggers@suttonschools.net if you have any questions or can not find what you’re looking for! Have a good day.

    Deeeeeeeep breaths!

    Shannon Dugger

    School Counselor, Grades 3-5 

    Because sometimes the internet has a mind of its own ~~ Disclaimer: The information provided within this document is for general purposes only. All information provided here is done in good faith, however I make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the websites linked below. Your use of these sites and your reliance on any information on the site is solely at your own risk.


    COVID-19 and Kids 101

    Like many parents, you may not know how to talk to your children about the overwhelming and ever evolving nature of COVID-19. While there are many helpful resources available to parents and I encourage you to do your own research to find what feels best for your family, I have found the following resource to be a great place to start. MGH Guide For Parents

    If you prefer something more abridged, the following is a  common list of recommendations seen across many resources.

    • General principles for parents, family members, school staff and other trusted adults when talking with children, include:
    1. Remaining calm/reassuring
    2. Being available to listen and talk
    3. Avoiding blame/stigma
    4. Reducing excessive media exposure
    5. Providing truthful and age-appropriate information
    6. Teaching effective hygiene practices, including handwashing


    Social/Emotional Learning Resources

    Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. As illustrated in the above diagram, SEL is learned first at home, then through schools and classrooms. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five core competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. The various SEL opportunities at Sutton Elementary, operate with these competencies in mind. Please visit the websites below for more information.


    CASEL website ------>


    A site for parents actively supporting kids' social and emotional development---->


    Recommended Reading for Parents ---->



    Health and Wellness

    Physical health and wellness are directly connected to emotional health and wellness and vice versa. Often we move through our life focusing on one while neglecting the other. Children learn their health habits at home first. Take a moment to check in with yourself; what are your family’s current health habits? Do you exercise regularly? Do you nourish your body with what you eat? Do you sleep well at night, regularly? Do you set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just ten centering moments in your day? It is difficult to expect our children to develop habits that we ourselves do not model for them. 

    Emotional wellbeing involves the recognition and acceptance of all of our thoughts and feelings, whether positive or negative.  This awareness and acceptance of our emotions is necessary in cultivating balance and resiliency and supports us in developing and nurturing relationships and friendships (Center for Wellness and Health Promotion, Harvard University Health Services Website, 2020).

    Emotional wellness inspires self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner strength. It is important to be attentive to both positive and negative feelings and be able to understand how to handle these emotions. Emotional wellness also includes the ability to learn and grow from experiences (University of CA, Student Health and Wellness Center Website, 2020).

    If you’re anything like me, your emotional wellness is not exactly thriving right now! It is a stressful time for everyone. For this very reason however, I encourage all of us (myself included!) to prioritize healthy habits that will sustain our physical and emotional strength as we enter an unprecedented school year.


    Behavior and Discipline

    It is no secret to parents that when norms are interrupted for children an increase in “bad behaviors” can occur. This pandemic has interrupted nearly every norm children know; school, friendships and socializing, extra curricular hobbies and passions, parents’ work schedules, playing inside, playing outside...the list goes on and on. Now more than ever, our children need us to develop new norms that are clear to them and then give them opportunities to practice them. It is common for many children to challenge new norms as they try and decide if a new “rule” or “expectation” is actually here to stay. Developing opportunities to practice a set of clear expectations and also reinforcing your child when they do what is expected are the best ways to get them to do what you need! Again there are many resources available to parents, but I would encourage you to start at a place like this blog, as it is full of concrete recommendations to help your child be helpful as opposed to challenging in the time of Coronavirus. -----> Effective Discipline During Covid-19



    Yay! We made it to my favorite part! There is so much to worry about right now that it is easy to be consumed by the “doom and gloom” we see and hear, everywhere we turn. There is still a lot of joy in the world. One of my favorite parts about working with children is that they are able to, and even likely to, experience joy and playfulness even in the midst of stressful situations. That resilience and hope is contagious and it’s a great energy to be around all day! I encourage you all to create some time in your day, or at the very least week, to have some fun as a family.

    With few precious moments of “summer” left, take a look at this resource filled with pandemic safe activities for the whole family ---> Family Fun

    While this is a new resource to me, this website is jam packed with ideas on how to stay active and have fun during the pandemic ---> Kids Out and About Boston

    For some local ideas visit ----> Worcester Central Kids Calendar