Supports for Parents and Guardians

At TVDSB, we know that supporting parents and guardians is an important part of helping students achieve academic success. Below you will find videos from live events and workshops produced by TVDSB to help supply families with the knowledge and experience they need to help their child succeed.

Let's Talk About YOU - Building Resiliency During Difficult Times - January 2022

Recorded Live Session (January 28, 2022)

  • Chat Transcript
  • Parent and Caregiver Handout
     Click here for an accessible version.

    Family Mental Health and Well-Being

    Together in the Valley, February 2022

    Canadian Mental Health Association:  Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services

    Parents and Caregivers, Let’s Talk About YOU: Building Resiliency Through Difficult Times

    Looking after our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health.  It is O.K. to feel stressed, worried, anxious, sad, afraid or angry.  When difficult emotions become severe and interfere with daily functioning we may need to reach out for support. 

    Mental Health Is…

    • The capacity to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges
    • A positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity

     Adapted from the Public Health Agency of Canada

    The Mental Health Continuum:  How Am I Doing?

    Am I doing OK? Green: Healthy

    • Use simple coping tools:  walk, talk to friends, music.
    • Limit news and media

    What has changed? Yellow:  Reacting

    • Get good sleep and eat well
    • Seek support from others

    How long have I been feeling this way? Orange:  Injured

    • Time to get professional help

    I need help! Red:  Ill

    • Get help now
    • Call a crisis line

    Continuum Self-Check Tool

    Quote by Brene Brown

    “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” 

    Managing Our Mental Health:

    • Emotional supports
    • Re-examine Priorities
    • Lifestyle choices
    • Balance time
    • Practice self-care
    • Regulate emotions

    Noticing Our Stress

    • What are the sources of your stress?
    • What life experiences make you vulnerable to stress?
    • In what ways do you respond to stress?
    • What regularly practiced strategies support your wellness?

    Adapted from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety 

    Notice the Changes: Signs and Symptoms 

    • Mood:  Anxiety, anger, sadness, feeling numb
    • Thinking:  Intrusive negative thoughts, difficulty, suicidal thoughts, concentrating
    • Behaviour and Performance:  Isolating, withdrawing, hard time finishing tasks, risky behaviours
    • Physical:  Weight fluctuations, sleep problems,  digestive issues, aches/pain
    • Addictive Behaviours: Misuse of drugs, alcohol

    When significant changes become our daily experience, over longer periods, further support may be needed.

    Resources to help you along the way…

    If you are in crisis and need immediate support call the Reach Out crisis line, 1-866-933-2023, or call 911.

    London-Middlesex, walk-in support:  Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Centre at 534 Queens Ave, London.

    Oxford Walk-In Counselling: 1-800-859-7248 x 210, as of Sept 2021, pre-book free sessions either in person, virtually, by telephone.

    Elgin Walk-In Support:   Main Office, 110 Centre St, St. Thomas, Mon– Fri, 8:30AM – 4:30PM, closed on holidays. St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, Rm G700 – 189 Elm Street, St. Thomas, 7 days/week,

    8:00AM – 11:00PM, including holidays. No appointment required. 

    Services Offered at Canadian Mental Health Association


Parental Resources for Online Learning - January 2022
Off to School - A Virtual Workshop for Parents and Students K-1 (August 31, 2021)

This is a recording of the live event held August 31, 2021

Related File: Off to School for Students K-1 Strategies and Tips

Click here for an accessible/translatable version.

Please use the Google Translate tool that appears at the top of this website to translate the following content.

Sharing Feelings:

Notice how your family members' are feeling, and share feeling words.

Use "I feel" statements to talk about feelings.​The purpose of an “I-statement” is to express how you feel inside.  Examples: “I feel…” joyful, anxious, lonely, happy, angry, calm, embarrassed, fearful, etc.

Smell the Flower:

Pretend you are holding a flower in your hand, take a long deep breath in through your nose as you smell the flower and blow out through your mouth across the top of the flower to share the smell of the flower.​

Four Finger Affirmation:
“I can do this”, “I can do division”, “I try my best”, “I am loved today”, “I believe in me”, “Today will be awesome”, “I will worry less”, “I can handle this”.

Practice putting this into action:
Each word you have chosen will match a finger on your hand.
As you say your affirmation in your head, match each finger with your thumb.
This can be used to help you feel more confident in stressful situations.
No one will know when you are using affirmations as this can be practiced privately.

Hot Chocolate Breathing:

Pick up your imaginary mug in your hands; imagine it is filled with creamy hot chocolate and marshmallows, if you like them.
Smell that wonderful, chocolatey goodness, breathing in through your nose and then gently blow out through your mouth to cool the hot chocolate.
Do it a second time, because the chocolate smells wonderful.​

SHARE YOUR CALM: Co-regulate

Co-regulate through your posture and facial expressions.
Use a soothing or calm tone of voice (even in those moments that we do not feel calm).
Acknowledge your child’s feelings
Sit with your child in silence - sometimes we just need someone to be there.
Ask what would be helpful right now?

Create Healthy Routines:
Keep a regular routine at bedtime.
Be physically active every day.
Eat healthy meals and snacks during the day.
Turn off screens one hour before bed.
Avoid caffeine (chocolate, energy drinks, cola) before bed.

Find the Good:
Start or end each day by naming one thing that makes you happy.​

Do Some Good:
If you are having a bad day, helping to brighten someone else’s day may make you feel better too.
Doing something nice for someone else benefits us as well.​

Belly Breathing:
Place your hands flat on your stomach.
As you breathe deeply in through your nose, send this breath all the way to your stomach.
Feel your stomach expand and your hands move out.
Breathe out.
Feel your stomach contract and your hands move in.

Books on YouTube:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The Friend I Need by Gabi Garcia
Mindful Monkey Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer

GoNoodle®: Get Your Kids Moving & Practicing Mindfulness

Create:  My Coping Menu
You may need; Crayons, markers, magazines to cut out pictures, glue stick, scissors, large recipe cards or large piece of construction paper and some blank white paper.

If using a recipe card:  Take a card and have your child draw or put a picture on the card to represent the strategy. You can add a word to the card that represents the activity.

If using a piece of paper:  Divide the paper in 6 to 8 sections by folding it and add a coping strategy to each area.

Include: something active, something quiet that they can do on their own, something at school, something at home.

Fifty Coping Skills for Kids:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Smile and laugh
  • Take good care of the earth
  • Look at or take photographs
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Eat healthy
  • Stretch
  • Garden or do yard work
  • Ask for help
  • Blow bubbles
  • Create art, colour, paint, or draw
  • Weave, knit or crochet
  • Use kind and compassionate self-talk
  • Practice gratitude
  • Journal or write a letter
  • Take slow, mindful breaths
  • Kick bounce or throw a ball
  • Drink a warm cup of tea
  • Use a stress ball or other fidget tool
  • Visualize a peaceful place
  • Get a hug
  • Do a puzzle
  • Try or learn something new
  • Exercise
  • Clean, declutter or organize
  • Do something kind
  • Rest, take a break, or nap
  • Build something
  • Listen to music
  • Play a board game
  • Make a scrapbook or collage
  • Practice yoga
  • Cuddle or play with your pet
  • Drink water
  • Cook or bake
  • Say positive affirmations
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Sing and/or dance
  • Explore and discover nature’s treasures
  • Play outside
  • Cry
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Go on a hike, walk, or run
Understanding Brightspace and Google Classroom for Parents (Sept. 23, 2020)

This is a recording of the live event held September 23, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions from this event:

Why do my children have virtual classrooms that look different from each other?

Both Brightspace and Google Classroom are excellent learning platforms and teachers could be using either platform. Even when teachers are using the same platform, each child's classroom may look different depending on the activities being assigned, tools being used, and the platform selected.  This is very similar to the way in which classes inside a school can be organized differently.  As remote distance learning happened so quickly, teachers were encouraged to use the virtual learning platform with which they were the most familiar so that they could begin remote distance learning as quickly as possible for students. This allows teachers to maximize their past experiences with the online learning tools within each of these platforms and to collaborate with other teachers of the same grade and/or course to provide engaging materials for students.

What is the best way to access Brightspace as a parent?

Brightspace can be accessed through the staff and student login using the student’s, gotvdsb credentials. During Learn at Home we are encouraging parents to sign in as/with their child in order to have full access to all of the features and tools offered within the platform for learning.

For parents of K-8 students, there is an overview entry point through a Parent Login. This access will only notify you of Portfolio items and information posted in the activity feed.

Can you please review the website and passwords for the Virtual Library Learning Commons (vllc)?

You can access the TVDSB’s Virtual Learning Commons at  This is like an online version of each school’s Library Learning Commons.  Students will find resources on a variety of topics, including researching, maker spaces and collaboration.  The VLLC also contains links to a variety of online databases that students can access for free.  If you need the password into this section please ask your school’s teacher librarian or you can email

What is the difference between the Brightspace Pulse App and the Brightspace Portfolio App?

The Portfolio App can be used to quickly capture learning artifacts and upload them to the portfolio from a phone or tablet with current software installed. The Pulse App serves as a way to get notifications of course updates both in the announcements and content areas.  Since Brightspace is web hosted it is best accessed through the Chrome browser no matter what device is being used (phone, tablet, laptop etc.).

We have multiple Google users on one device, and it can be difficult to know which user is logged in. How can I switch between Google accounts on my devices?

There is an excellent Google Support Article that explains exactly how you can switch between multiple accounts on a device. There is information on Computer, iPad/iPhone, and Android. The article can be found at Google Support

Are there different ways to submit work to the Brightspace Platform?

The Brightspace platform is being used by K-12 educators within our board. A teacher may select different tools because some tools are better suited for different age groups and tasks.  A few of the tools are listed below.

Assignments Tool - Used as a Virtual Filing Cabinet to submit work for assessment and receive feedback.

Portfolio Tool - A simplified way to upload artifacts of learning (in the form of pictures, videos, audio recordings and written reflections). The portfolio stays with the student all the way from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Educators are able to add feedback and connect assessment tools to the artifacts.

Discussions Tool - A way to simulate conversation that may happen within a physical classroom in a virtual environment.  Be aware that anything posted in this tool could be viewed by other students in the classroom.

How do I submit assignments to Google Classroom?

Submitting work to Google Classroom can be done in a number of ways. On the following Google Support page, the site outlines how this can be accomplished on a computer, Android and iOS device.

Why do we not have daily classroom sessions using videoconferencing technology like Teams or Google Meet?

Both Brightspace & Google Classroom do have video-conferencing capabilities. Brightspace’s product is “Virtual Classroom” and Google Classroom is “Google Meet”. These tools are great opportunities for social connection: however, as a district we must remember that there is great diversity with respect to student access to the internet and regularity of device access. As a system we realize that educators cannot expect that all the students will be available at a consistent identified time every day for large class instruction. We will continue to look for ways to ensure that students have the opportunity for interaction with their teacher.

Is there a document I can turn to that has basic instructions for use of Google Classroom and Brightspace?

Support guides can be found on the TVDSB Technology Support Page at :

Please scroll to the Google Account and Brightspace sections for access to these guides. These documents include information about Logging In and Instructions on how to Submit Work.

Can my child access an eBook during this time?

eBooks can be accessed by using the Virtual Library Learning Commons

Orca Books, as well as BookFlix are great resources.

How do I add photos directly to Google Classroom from a mobile device? From a Chromebook/PC/Mac?

The easiest way to add photos directly to Google Classroom is using the Google Classroom app on a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, or Android device.  A YouTube video with instructions can be seen at For written instructions, please see the Google Support page at

Using a webcam on your laptop or Chromebook is another way to submit work to Google Classroom. An interesting way of integrating Google Slides and your webcam for work submission can be found on this website.

Does Google provide instructions on Google Classroom?
The Google Support site is
Learning at Home During a Crisis: The Role of the Parent/Guardian (May 21, 2020)

This is a recording of the live event held May 21, 2020

The following questions were questions that were common questions that Dr. Debbie Pushor did not have the opportunity to answer.  To hear all of the questions that she did have the opportunity to answer for our families/participants please listen to the recording of the live event posted for your viewing. 

How does a parent work with educators who struggle with parent led on line learning?

Parents/guardians who are struggling with any part of the on-line learning should reach out to their child’s teacher(s) to express their concerns.  Together, educators and parents/guardians need to determine what will work for each family situation.  Educators are selecting approaches to teaching but need to hear from parents/guardians on what is and what is not working. 

When are the teachers going to provide at-home work and lessons that is somewhat equivalent of being in school?
It is very challenging to provide the same educational experience a student would have at school during the ‘learning at a distance’.  Schools are equip with many resources and learning materials that families would not be expected to have which assist in facilitating the learning.  It is also recognized that every family has a different schedule during these unique times.  Educators need to differentiate their learning strategies and expectations to meet each student and their family where they are and with the right balance. 
My son is struggling with the organization of his work - he can get many be-mails in one day and doesn't know how to prioritize. What can we do to help him be more autonomous and independent with this?

Depending on the age of your son, if he is a secondary student then he needs to determine a schedule that will work for him (ie. certain time allotted for each subject and focus just on that subject during that time).  If there is too much work to manage then perhaps it is him or a parent/guardian reaching out to the teacher to let them know that there is a lot of work and it is overwhelming.  Sometimes educators provide more work in order to ensure that there is enough but also realize that it may be too much for some students.  The key to success during this new learning is for the communication to be happening between the teachers and the family. 

How do you reconcile the expectations of teachers for elementary students to complete new learning and to hand in assignments with the informal experiential life learning Dr. Pushor is proposing?

If some of the work requested from a teacher does not get completed because there were other learning taking place for a student then the teacher should be made aware of this.  Teachers appreciate knowing that families are making other choices for their child and that other learning opportunities are taking place.  Teachers love it when parents/guardians/students share with them what they are working on or doing during their time away from school. 

My teenage daughter is really struggling mentally being stuck at home and trying to find the motivation to do not only school work but just basic everyday self care etc. Do you have any suggestions on how to support her in her schooling and mental wellbeing?

Please communicate with your daughter’s Principal or teachers of challenges that she may be facing.  As a system, we do not want students to become overwhelmed or anxious because of their school work.  Reach out to the school to make sure that they are aware and then they can help to take away some of the anxiety.  Also, the TVDSB has excellent resources on their website – on the main page there is a section titled ‘Mental Health and Well-Being’ which has a wealth of information available for students/families to access. 

How much of remote learning will impact report cards, regarding grades?

The Ministry of Education has clearly stated that any remote learning shall not negatively impact a student’s grades.  It is recognized that each family has a significant amount of pressure and challenge placed upon them during these unique times and no student’s ‘grades’ should have to suffer or be negatively impacted due to the different way that learning is occurring.  Students do have the ability to improve their marks.  Although marks are not to decrease they definitely can increase and improve.  Therefore, students are encouraged to continue with their learning in order to improve on their skills and their grades. 
My daughter has a learning disability which causes her high anxiety about being behind other kids.  She feels she has to complete her online work but is upset by needing to get help from her father or me.  She also pushes back when we suggest learning can take place in ways other than the assignments being handed out.
Reassure your daughter that each student is learning differently right now and is getting some form of help and/or support from their parent/guardian.  Also communicate with your daughter’s teacher about her frustrations because they may be able to reach out to her more regularly to offer additional support. 

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