Giving Our Parents Extra Support During the Pandemic

Help with Staying at Home

For many years, our Ho-Ho-Kus school has hosted monthly, in-person Parent Support Group meetings. They have been very successful in drawing a small, intimate group of parents to meet for learning, sharing information and support.

But, in the past six weeks, we felt it was more important than ever to offer our families support and an opportunity to meet with each other. The interest level has been so high, we now meet every week with our incredible families! Sometimes, the meetings are so helpful, our parents don’t want it to end. 

Parent Support Group Facebook (1)

Here is a brief overview of some of the topics and strategies we have discussed:

Self-Care for Parents and Creating a Routine (3/26/20)

  • Make sure you have accurate information and set limits.
  • Reach out to others and support people around you.
  • Talking to your children about COVID-19 and the changes that are occurring.
  • Create a routine using school as the framework.

Creating Consistency at Home (4/2/20)

  • Incorporate visual schedules to stay on-track with the day’s activities.
  • Stick to normal wake-up, grooming, eating and bed-time schedules.
  • Clearly outline and reinforce expected behaviors.
  • Build in regular sensory and movement breaks.

Helping Your Children Deal with Disappointments (4/9/20)

  • Celebrating holidays virtually.
  • Starting new traditions.
  • How to help others in the community.
  • Make a “Some Day Soon” jar.

Making the Most of Downtime (4/16/20)

  • Continue use of schedules, even on days without virtual learning.
  • Plan virtual “trips” to museums, zoo’s, concerts and parks.
  • Take advantage of time outside: Set-up a simple obstacle course in the yard or do a “scavenger hunt,” while walking through the neighborhood.
  • Promote independent leisure skills; extra electronics time is okay.

Supporting Your Child through Virtual Learning with Peggy Walsh, Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant (4/30/20)

  • Prepare ahead of time: Have a designated learning space with all daily materials ready.
  • Provide less verbal and more non-verbal prompts during instruction times (pointing, gesturing, modeling).
  • Give your child adequate time to process and respond to questions.
  • Sit to the side and slightly behind your child to help ensure their focus is on the teacher.

We will be continuing these Parent Support Group meetings throughout the school year to provide ongoing support and advice to our parents. Upcoming meetings will feature other staff members as “guest speakers,” highlighting relevant topics.

Stay safe and healthy!

By Cynthia Chaanine, LCSW, and Matthew Kuzdral M.S., BCBA

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