Yale and Scholastic Have Released a Free Workbook to Help Children Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The workbook features cartoonish creatures called "The Moodsters" that walk kids through the activities.
The workbook features cartoonish creatures called "The Moodsters" that walk kids through the activities.
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Just like adults, children around the world are trying to process their emotions and manage anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically altered their lifestyles within a few short weeks. To help them understand and cope with those changes—and to help their parents explain the situation to them—child development expert Denise Daniels, RN, MS, partnered with Yale and Scholastic on a 16-page downloadable workbook called First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The workbook, which is available in English and Spanish, features “The Moodsters,” a group of five brightly colored cartoonish sleuths (named Lolly, Snorf, Coz, Razzy, and Quigly) that Daniels created with Yale psychologists to help kids investigate the mysteries of their feelings.

In First Aid for Feelings, the gang walks children through exercises like making a list of questions they have about the new coronavirus, circling the ways they’re taking care of their family and themselves (things like “stand six giant steps away from your friends and neighbors” and “call or video chat with your friends whenever you are lonely”), and filling in a chart of things that will change during this time and things that will stay the same.

There is also a number of suggestions for coping with certain feelings that kids are encouraged to try. If kids are feeling afraid, for example, they can “listen to calming music,” “get the facts,” or "curl up and read [their] favorite book.” Ideas for expressing feelings in general range from doing something nice for someone else to making a “feelings collage” by cutting out pictures from old magazines that show people demonstrating different emotions.

The workbook, geared toward children between the ages of 4 and 10, is a product of the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child and Family Resilience, which develops story-based resources to help children, families, and communities adapt to stressful circumstances and overcome adversity.

You can download PDFs for the English and Spanish versions of the workbook via Scholastic's "Learn at Home" digital hub here.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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An Illinois School District Has Banned Fully Remote Students From Wearing Pajamas While Learning

The great thing about Zoom is that it's almost impossible for people to tell if you're wearing pajamas.
The great thing about Zoom is that it's almost impossible for people to tell if you're wearing pajamas.
August de Richelieu, Pexels

Having most of your interactions via video chat can be a little exhausting, but it does come with a few perks—like being able to wear your pajama pants without anybody knowing or caring. For students facing remote learning in Illinois’s Springfield School District, however, PJs are against the rules.

WGRZ reports that the dress code for Springfield’s learn-from-home plan includes a ban on pajamas, which a number of parents aren’t too happy about.

“I don’t think they have any right to say what happens in my house,” parent Elizabeth Ballinger told WCIA. “I think they have enough to worry about as opposed to what the kids are wearing. They need to make sure they’re getting educated.”

Aaron Graves, president of the Springfield Education Association, doesn’t actually appear to disagree with Ballinger.

“In truth, the whole pajama thing is really at the bottom of our priority scale when it comes to public education,” Graves told WCIA. “We really want to see kids coming to the table of education, whether it’s at the kitchen table with the laptop there or whether it’s the actual brick and mortar schoolhouse. Raising the bar for all kids and helping them get there, whether they’re in their pajamas or tuxedo, is really what’s important.”

Though the pajama prohibition was part of the regular in-school dress code [PDF], imposing it from afar will definitely be more difficult. Fortunately, the administration’s enforcement policy is pretty vague; a statement shared with WCIA explained that “there are no definitive one-to-one consequences” for wearing your pajamas to online school, and teachers will decide what to do about any given violation.

In other words, it looks like kids with easygoing teachers (and parents) will get to stay in their nightshirts, while others might have to learn their multiplication tables in tuxedos.

[h/t WGRZ]