Places of work for many educators and caregivers have been closed down due to COVID-19. This is an unprecedented and scary pandemic, and it has forced many early learning professionals to connect with parents and families in an entirely new way — providing support for parents who are educating and caring for their children at home full-time. This new role for parents is stressful, intimidating, and exhausting. Click here to read a telling article from the parent of a young child.
Parents may be finding the volumes of information being sent to them about teaching their children at home to be overwhelming. While these resources are helpful and informative, one of the best things that you can do to actually help parents feel supported is to help them feel empowered. Let parents know that you believe in their ability to handle this tough situation. No one knows their little ones like they do, and it is important to remind them that by trusting their instincts, they will get through this!
Support & Empower
Encourage parents to find everyday teachable moments. Many parents are getting lots of great ideas for activities that can be set up at home, such as art projects and science experiments. While these are fun and doable for some families, they might be overwhelming to others. Remind parents that there is power in everyday moments, when we talk to children about the dinner that we’re making, go out for a walk and count the pink flowers that we see, or read a book together before bed. These moments, while simple, are powerful learning opportunities for young children. Let parents know that simple is okay right now!
A reminder: It’s okay to take a break. Being home with your child 24/7 can quickly become exhausting. Some parents are navigating working from home while others are struggling with the stress of job loss, and all are facing a variety of challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. When you check in with parents, remind them that it is okay to take a break and take care of themselves. Some parents have concerns about screen time when their little ones are stuck inside. Let them know that a little screen time will be okay if it gives them an opportunity to take care of themselves.
Remind them that you’re available and ask them what you can do to help. Maybe the best thing you can do for parents is to simply ask, “How can I help you during this time?” Some families might need resources, some might want a storytime with you and their children once a week, and some might want your advice about activities that will engage their children! The needs will vary, but in every case your simple question and offer of support will help all of your parents to feel less alone during this time.