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Reconnecting with Parents during COVID-19

We have hit the one year mark of sheltering in place due to the pandemic. After spending an entire year navigating closed schools and child care facilities, parents are feeling exhausted. Since many children are still at home at least part time, parents must find fresh new ways to engage their children in at-home learning, as they continue to struggle with economic and family well-being challenges.

This week we have put into one article a list of some of the resources for children and families that have appeared in Good2Know Network updates during the past 12 months. We encourage you to reach out to parents to let them know you are thinking of them and their young children, and to offer to share information about supportive resources and services.

Ask Parents What They Need Now

The kind of support that families needed at the beginning of the pandemic might differ from what would be most helpful to them now. While you might have checked in with parents one or more times since the onset of the pandemic, consider reaching out again to reinforce the trusting relationship you have with them. You can start the conversation by asking one or more of the following questions:

“How are you, and how is your child?”
“What kind of support do you and your family need?”
“What kinds of questions do you have for us about your child and his/her learning and development?”
“How can we best support  your child’s learning at school and at home?”

Let Families Know about Local Services and Supports

 COVID-19 has impacted many family’s jobs and incomes, and parents may require ongoing support with financial aid, food assistance, or other resources. Following are some San Mateo County resources that parents might find helpful:

  • San Mateo County Immigrant Families Fund: COVID-19 Relief: The San Mateo County Immigrant Relief Fund provides financial assistance for residents who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 and are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Immigrants may be eligible to receive a $500 grant to help cover whatever is most pressing in their lives.

  • San Mateo County Food Distribution List:  In response to COVID-19, the Office of Community Affairs Immigrant Services developed a countywide food distribution list in English, Chinese, and Spanish.  Lists are separated by North, Central, Coastal, and Southern regions and include organizations and community centers offering groceries and meal distributions.

  • Help Me Grow List of Local Resources: Help Me Grow San Mateo County posted resources for basic needs, immigration, financial assistance, and more to support children aged 0-5, as well as their families and care providers, during COVID 19 and beyond.

  • San Mateo County COVID-19 Resource Flyers for Families: These flyers from the San Mateo County COVID-19 Child Care Response Team are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. The flyer lists resources available to families, including emergency financial assistance, food, housing, utilities, and other basic needs. You might consider printing these flyers and posting them in your center, so that families can reference them as needed.

Suggest At-home, Multilingual, Learning Resources

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color and groups that are under-resourced and over-burdened. As educators and caregivers, we can help to create more inclusivity and support by sharing resources that are representative of the diverse populations in our communities. Meeting the varying needs of families also means sharing resources that are free and open to the public so that all families can utilize and access the information.

  •  App with Ideas for Parents and Caregivers from the Early Learning Lab: Stay, Play, Grow is a free app from the Early Learning Lab to support parents and caregivers during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond. The app is a source of trusted resources curated to help families with children 0-5 make the most of their time together. The app offers content for families in English and Spanish.

  • Abriendo Puertas’ “Tackling COVID-19 Together” To help ease the stress and isolation associated with physical distancing, Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) has developed a video series and list of resources for organizations and families (with information posted in English, Spanish, Mam and Tagalog).

  • Vroom Shares Print-at-Home Tip Sheets and Other Resources in 16 Languages: Vroom, a free resource for parents and early learning professionals that shares tips and activity ideas to support learning with little ones in everyday situations, announced that it is expanding its offerings to include free, print-at-home idea sheets in 16 languages.

  • “ABC’s of Coronavirus,” a COVID-19 Children’s Book: The ABCs of Coronavirus is a new children’s book that is available for parents and educators to download for free. The book is available in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Korean, Indonesian, and three of the languages spoken in India.

Make Sure to Highlight Positive News

The past year has been filled with a lot of challenges and difficulties. Without sugar-coating the struggles, highlighting positive information can help families feel re-energized about the future and bring a sense of hope back into our communities.

If you are caring for children, be sure to send notes to parents describing what their child has been saying, doing, and learning. Many parents are concerned about their children’s learning and development, fearing that they have fallen behind as a result of the pandemic. Let parents know when you see a child do something they haven’t before, or that  a child has had a good day. Parents will likely appreciate receiving some good news.

Share hopeful news related to COVID relief, such as vaccination distribution updates and the new American Rescue Plan. Many parents will feel relieved to be reminded that good things are happening and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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