Last month’s article focused on the importance of protecting our children during COVID-19. COVID-19 has been a challenge for many families in terms of home schooling, unemployment, food insecurity, staying safe and staying sane. Some parents don’t have the luxury of social distancing because they are considered “essential” workers. Data show that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Even in the midst of this pandemic, we must hold on to HOPE. I want to re-introduce to some of you and introduce to others the Strengthening Families Approach and how this approach can offer some HOPE during this pandemic. 2 Timothy, 1:7 reminds us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.
Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five (5) key Protective Factors.
I’m honored to serve as a member of the Strengthening Families Georgia Leadership Team that sets the strategic direction for the Georgia partnership. Strengthening Families Georgia (SFG) represents a multi-disciplinary partnership of nearly 50 national, state and local, and public and private organizations dedicated to embedding the five (5) research-based Protective Factors into services and supports for children and families.
The five (5) Protective Factors are:
Protective Factors are characteristics or strengths of individuals, families, communities or societies that act to mitigate risks and promote positive well-being and healthy development.
We all have strengths. What is one of your strengths? Whether you are a parent or community member, always focus on the strengths and assets of children. Build them up; don’t tear them down. Love on them daily. Children have a right to be safe and a right to thrive, learn and grow in an environment that fosters healthy development. We must all work together to see that our communities are extending helping hands to children and families in need, especially during this pandemic.
How can we apply the Five (5) Protective Factors to support families during COVID-19?
Parental Resilience: This protective factor is very important during this time as parents are trying to balance work and family obligations. Parental Resilience is the ability to recover from or be strengthened by difficult situations. Action: We should encourage parents to manage stress effectively and to practice self-care. The calmer they are, the calmer their children will be.
Social Connections: Even though we are physical distancing, networks of support are essential for parents and offer opportunities for parents to stay connected during this time. Physical distancing does not mean we need to remain socially disconnected or isolated. Action: Parents can stay connected to family and friends by using virtual platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Face Time; they can go outside and greet and talk with their neighbors from a distance; write letters; play board games
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Parents have been tasked with home schooling their children, most for the first time. Parents who understand the basics of child development have more realistic expectations of their children. These parents are better equipped to provide an appropriate amount of nurturing, supervision, and guidance. Action: We can support parents by providing information and resources on parenting and child development
Concrete Support in Times of Need: Asking for help is a sign of strength. Parents know where and when to get support. During times such as these, families need to know where to seek help with food, clothing, housing, childcare, utilities and healthcare. Action: Provide information and connections to resources in the community
Social and Emotional Competence of Children: Children are being home schooled, which is a disruption to their daily routine of interacting with friends and learning in a different educational environment. A child’s ability to control their behavior and communicate feelings positively impacts their relationship with their family. Action: Parents and Caregivers should limit children’s exposure to news coverage about COVID-19, but have age-appropriate conversations and allow them to express their feelings
Article source-Strengthening Families Georgia
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