Rising to the Challenge: Supporting Parents/Caregivers
The Los Angeles County Office of Education developed the following messaging for school districts to use in newsletters, emails, social media posts and other communications in order to support their parents in a remote learning environment.
The information here is contained in the Related Files below, ready to download and customize for district use.
• Remote Learning
Five Tips on How to Support Remote Learning
- Create a Dedicated Learning Space. Create an area where your child can work. This space should be separate from where they play and allow for you to limit distractions. Make sure to equip this area with the things that they will need to complete their work. You want to establish an atmosphere of learning that places a value on education and an understanding that they are not on vacation.
- Develop a Schedule. Set a schedule for your child that includes time for learning (working in course or on class assignments) and studying (reviewing material and preparing for tests, etc). Consider what time your child is at his/her best as you plan academic time. Make sure to include breaks where they can get up to go for a walk or have a snack.
- Mix Screen Time with Traditional Media. Since it is likely that your child will want to engage in screen-related activities during breaks (video games, television, etc.), you will want to limit screen time by mixing in other types of learning activities. Encourage your child to read print books, perform paper/pencil tasks, and participate in physical activity.
- Communicate with Your Child. Take the time to talk to your child. This will help as you are developing their schedule and setting up their learning space. It will also help you to make any adjustments and provide support. Don’t be afraid of making changes that will help your child succeed.
Stay Connected. Maintain interaction with teachers and peers. Encourage your child to interact with his/her teacher, especially if he/she is having difficulty. Use video chats to connect with his/her friends. If your child is young and has never participated in a video chat, connect with another parent to set up a virtual “play date.” As a parent, you should also stay in touch with teachers and other parents. Finding out from other parents what is working for them can be helpful as many of you are going through online learning for the first time.
The Los Angeles County Office of Education developed the following messaging for school districts to use in newsletters, emails, social media posts and other communications to help parents support their children during COVID-19.
• Mental Wellness
Tips on How to Support Your Children/Students Around Mental Wellness
- Develop Wellness Routines. Children of all ages need opportunities where they can take time out each day to unplug, relax, and focus, especially in this moment. Meditation offers this break and helps children function more effectively and clearly. The simple act of teaching children how to stop, focus, and just breathe could be one of the greatest gifts you give them. Find out more: Mindfulness: Why and How to Practice with Children
- Develop a Daily Routine with Your Child. Discuss your child’s needs during the day and encourage flexibility and plenty of “brain breaks.” Help empower your child to make decisions about those moments. Try to be as creative as possible and use visuals for younger students. [Ma1] [Gr2] Using visuals helps because words disappear right after we say them. A picture or graphic image that represents the word can “stick around” longer than a spoken word. Here's an example of using visuals to create a daily schedule: https://adayinourshoes.com/free-printable-visual-schedules-for-home-and-daily-routines/
- Experience “Joyful Movement” Outside. The day can go by very quickly so be sure to get some sunshine and “joyful movement,” an approach to physical activity that emphasizes finding pleasure in the ways we move our bodies. Ask your child to stop and tune in for a moment: How is your body feeling? Is it tired? Energetic? Does it want to move, or does it need to rest? If it wants to move, what kind of movement is it craving?
- Monitor Screen Time and Digital Safety. Privacy experts recommend several steps to help ensure that your child is safe and comfortable online.
- Know what sites your child is accessing, and try to make time to ask about why they like certain sites.
- Be aware of how your child is interacting online. Have they been exposed to bullying or are there other issues?
- Talk to them about commenting on the internet and how best to handle comments from others.
- Consider doing an online audit of their privacy settings on all of their social media platforms, and check out all their privacy settings with a “spot check.”
- Provide Emotional Support. Check in with your child on a regular basis. It is important to see how your child is coping as their emotions and feelings can change daily. If you have multiple children, try to individualize your check-in to make it personal. When providing your child with emotional support, try to be non-judgmental. It also helps to be an active listener -- this is not a time to solve your children's problems but rather offer an opportunity for them to express themselves.
- Take a Break. Sometimes you need to walk away from the project, assignment, or situation. Do that together. Take a quick brisk walk to clear your head and then return to the situation refreshed.
- Create a Family Journal. Place a notebook in a central location in the house. Each family member can draw, ask questions and share what’s on their mind. Include extended family members too. Send them handwritten letters and ask for a note back.
- Have a Daily Debrief. End each day with everyone sharing their highlight and lowpoint of the day and ask how you can work together better tomorrow.
Tips for Supporting Students Experiencing Grief
There have been various forms of grief surrounding COVID-19. Grief is not only defined as being related to loss as a result of someone's death but can be over the loss of many things. Students may be grieving the loss of graduation and promotional ceremonies, being separated from sick family members, or being unable to celebrate birthdays or special occasions. As counselors and mental health professionals you can provide support to students during these challenging times.
Following are tips on supporting students through grief:
- Encourage parent/caregiver to maintain a normal routine as much as possible.
- Memorialize the person/thing that was lost.
- Follow the student’s lead when exploring grief; each student will move at a different pace when exploring grief.
- Encourage children to express their feelings in a healthy manner.
- Be developmentally appropriate according to the age. There are children's books to help younger children explore grief.
- Approach the student’s grief from a culturally responsive lens.
- If there is a group of students who have experienced grief, think of creating a virtual counseling group or virtual book club as a method of support.
- Provide the student and family with Department of Mental Health Hotline information and other outside resources.
- Remind students there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
- Check in with parents or caregivers to discuss any mental health concerns and give them warning signs.
- Remember that students may experience secondary grief in response to losing someone. They are not only grieving the loss of the individual, but also what that person did or would have done for them. When meeting with students be sure to explore the secondary grief a student may be experiencing.