The risk of coronavirus and the impact of lockdown on families with multiple challenges and children under 5 has been immense. We are dealing with increasing safeguarding concerns, We need to stay in touch with families. We want to create and deliver age appropriate Packs of Joy to give families a much needed morale boost, and to provide resources, activities and learning opportunities for the families whilst in isolation. Packs will be delivered to every family in May, June and July if we have the funds.
Home-Start is supporting 80 families with face to face weekly support but this is not possible currently. The safety of our families, staff and volunteers is paramount. We are keeping in touch with families over the phone and using internet platforms. We need more resource to offer this support ongoing through to the autumn. We are able to interact using stories, nursery rhymes and conversation with the parents and children during these calls. This is vital to reduce isolation.
What we'll deliver:
- 80 families with weekly human connection whilst in lockdown
- 240 Packs of Joy prepared and delivered to 80 families with vulnerable children
- 3 opportunities to see the families at home from a distance when delivering their Packs of Joy
Why it's a great idea:
Parents will know that they are being thought about and supported emotionally and practically whilst in lockdown. This is vital for families where there are already significant difficulties and limited space to play or escape indoors or out. Parents will receive new resources to support their home learning with their children. Activities, books and toys will be provided that are age specific and appropriate for the individual family. These will bring joy and fun into the household where stress levels are high, parents are emotionally exhausted, children are bored and frustrated and feeling unsure about life. Children as young as 2 years old are aware of changes in their home life/ parental engagement and can sense negative stress. We will encourage positive parental engagement with their children, provide activities for children to do by themselves to give parents a short break and receive feedback from the families on their experiences during the weekly call.
Steps to get it done:
- Purchase the items to fill the Packs of Joy based on ages of the children from 80 families
- Pack the items for each individual family
- Label each Pack of Joy for the individual family to receive
- Delivery drivers take out the Packs of Joy
- Training and regular additional supervision for volunteers from staff team
Parents are concerned with the effects of coronavirus and their housing, employment, relationships and finances. Whilst they are distracted by these important issues they are not able to engage fully with their children. With very young children, this parental bonding is essential for the child's development and emotional attachment. Young children will express their needs through behaviour which parents may find more distressing. Support with a weekly contact which is non judgemental and empathetic can help parents to reflect on this dynamic and reconnect with their children. The "lifeline" call is an opportunity for the parent to have time for them to be listened to and their needs to be discussed.