Strategies to Support the Whole Child

Support Children in School During COVID-19

Parenting is hard work! But it can also be fun and rewarding. There are many things you can do to support a healthy start for your child. Well-Ahead Louisiana has identified resources for parents related to nurturing healthy eaters and encouraging physical activity.

While schools and childcare centers remain temporarily closed, maintaining a routine—as you would on spring break or summer vacation—of regular, healthy mealtimes and consistent bedtimes can help keep kids healthy and happy. Check out our resources below for inspiration.

Healthy Meals for Children

Students 18 years and younger may have access to free or reduced-price meals at school. Parents and guardians should contact their local school system to find out if free meals are available in that district or how to access an application for free and reduced-price meals.

Around Louisiana, places like schools, recreation centers, parks, churches, and libraries are serving free, nutritious summer meals to kids up to 18 years old through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SFSP was designed to help low-income students during the summer months who aren’t receiving free or reduced-price school meals to continue to have access to meals and snacks. Louisiana SFSPs serve more than 2.5 million meals each summer.

Find a Summer Meals Site!

Check out the Online Summer Meals Site Finder! Type in an address or zip code to find the nearest summer meals site. Call 1-866-348-6479 and ask for the nearest place serving summer meals. USDA created a free texting number that families can use to find Summer Meals sites near them. Families can text Summer Meals to 97779 to find summer sites near them. Spanish speakers can text Verano to 97779.

Additional Resources for Families

  • USDA’s Meals for Kids directs people to local sites where kids can get free meals. The site finder currently lists more than 20,000 meal sites from 23 states, and more sites will be added as states submit data each week. The map is available in both English and Spanish at
  • USDA National Hunger Hotline remains a helpful resource for people seeking food assistance. The hotline, operated by Hunger Free America, can be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (for Spanish).
  • Are you looking to prepare healthy meals for children while they are home? Check out MyPlate Kitchen. This website has sample menus, cookbooks, recipes, video and much more!

Keeping Children Active at Home

Keep children moving while at home with daily, quick and creative physical activities. Ideally, kids should have two to three active play times every day. Instead of thinking of exercise as a separate scheduled activity, just try to weave quick “moving” moments throughout the day.

GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!

CATCH Health at Home was launched by CATCH Global Foundation. It is a free set of health, nutrition and physical education materials that require limited space and supervision. Access is quick-and-easy via Google Classroom. Full details and instructions are available on their website.

Reducing Screen Time

It is important to limit the amount of screen time for children. What is screen time? It’s any time spent in front of a screen, for example, to watch television, use the computer, and play video games (not including time needed to complete schoolwork). Click here for tips for parent to reduce screen time. In addition, here is a list of 50 ways to use your pool noodle for activities! 

Keeping Smiles Healthy

It’s important to help your children maintain good oral hygiene to keep their smiles healthy! Take a look at the resources from the Office of Head Start for tips on promoting oral health in your home.


  • Partners for Family Health Louisiana have compiled Mental Health Resources for Families during the Coronavirus Outbreak which provides resources for pregnant women, parents and caregivers, and families with babies and young children.
  • Louisiana Department of Education continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its effect on the state’s public schools. Explore the COVID-19 page to find resources for families, as well as up-to-date information and guidance for schools and centers.
  • Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Behavioral Health provides resources for Helping Children Cope with Emergencies that support children through emergencies.
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides free, evidence-based resources to support the physical, social, and emotional health of children and their caregivers. The COVID-19 Resources page includes resources designed to support you in reducing stress, eating healthy, moving regularly, getting quality sleep, and more.