#StayEngaged by doing a Family Wellness Check In
The world is going through an unprecedented time and our lives amid this pandemic caused by COVID-19 are changing by the day. No matter who you are or where you live, we are all feeling this global crisis in difficult and unique ways. At Flamboyan, we know that educators and families are feeling the challenge of maintaining strong relationships to support student success in a time of physical and social distancing. We also know that these strong relationships are key to not just supporting students, but supporting one another through anxiety and uncertainty.
Now more than ever, we are leaning into our 4 pillars of REAL Family Engagement, starting with Relationships, through our Wellness Check In Guidance below. This guidance provides school staff with a framework to connect with families during this difficult time and to let families know that you are thinking of them, concerned about them, and are available as a resource.
Keep in Mind: Educators should not feel pressured to have all the answers to questions/concerns that families may raise. During the check in, practice empathic listening, pay attention to what families share, let the family do most of the talking, and keep a record of any questions or needs that emerge.
Wellness Check In Tips
Tip 1: Check in on People. Start by checking in with the family member as a person. Remember that the family member you are talking to is likely the head of household, juggling many competing responsibilities and may be experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.
- As a parent – grown up to grown up – how are you doing right now?
- How is your child(ren) doing? Have you thought about how to keep her/him connected to his peers during the extended closure (i.e. scheduling Facetime calls with friends so (s)he doesn’t feel isolated)?
- How is everyone doing (mentally, physically, emotionally) in your home?
Tip 2: Check in on Resources. After you’ve checked in on people, ask about immediate needs and resources.
- Is there anything you need but don’t have?
- Do you have any urgent or pressing needs?
- If needed, do you know locations where you can pick up meals for your child? Do you have any concerns about getting to the meal distribution locations (i.e. transportation)?
Tip 3: Check in on Distance Learning. Next, check in on learning at home.
- How are you feeling about structuring the day?
- Do you need any ideas for scheduling time or ideas for keeping kids engaged?
- How are you feeling about the resources available to you from your school district? What additional resources do you need to support learning at home?
- How can I help you navigate the resources your district/we provided?
- What seems unclear or what questions do you have about how distance learning will work?
Tip 4: Share Important Reminders. Provide families with information about meal sites, internet access resources, and upcoming key dates for their school district. You can also share resources for talking to children about the Coronavirus, such as:
After you’ve concluded your Wellness Check In, be sure to follow up on any unmet needs that the family identifies, and flag any emergency and/or immediate needs to your school leader (i.e. family doesn’t have transportation to pick up meals).