When we offer psychosocial skills to Parents, we are extending the support to more Children and Learners
Since the start of the pandemic learners across the country have experienced long periods of uncertainty, worry, fear, confusion, and anxiety. During the lockdown period, parents and guardians stepped in to assume the role of supporting children emotionally. Parents also did what they could to assist children with home lessons.
This was something completely new to most parents and without the right skills and experience, one can generally conclude that there were challenges and frustrations in many homes.
The alternate day attendance continues in many schools this year, which means that learners will have more time at home. More time at home is a risk element because whilst some learners will remain disciplined towards their schoolwork, some will not. Added pressure from parents could see some becoming rebellious, finding comfort in their peers, getting exposed to various temptations, and succumbing to negative peer pressure.
In these conditions, learners could become more anxious, demotivated, and lose interest in school and education.
One of the major challenges that we have seen in the afterschool space is the lack of access to schools due to strict Covid-19 preventative measures. It is a major setback on our plans to resume the 2021 programmes effectively. Isn’t it ironic that at a time when learners and communities need us most, we are unable to provide vital support?
We can all agree that the need to consider new ways of working, is pressing.
Building stronger “Supportive Relationships” with parents and guardians
Learners love to know that parents care about their success and that their parent’s deepest wish is to see them prosper. In some homes, however, parents are not empowered to start successful life and career conversations and to support children in meaningful ways. As a result, important conversations never take place. At a time when we cannot reach all children, there is an opportunity to develop supportive relationships with parents.
The current conditions require us all (i.e., the afterschool programmes, organisations, parents, and teachers) to support learners and teens in more engaging and enhanced direction. With this goal in mind, there is an opportunity to enable parents and guardians with the right skills and encourage them to create time to practice the acquired skills in their homes with the utmost care, commitment, and consistency.
By providing psychosocial support tips and skills to parents, we can develop strong supportive relationships. In turn, we could strengthen the efforts towards assisting learners and teens. Parents and the afterschool programmes could begin to proactively work together in identifying and addressing challenges that impact learners.
Equipped with the right skills, parents may be motivated to play an active role in supporting children. The afterschool programmes could essentially become a trusted “go-to” partner for input and advice.
Supportive relationships with parents can achieve the following outcomes
- Parents who possess the skills needed to support children and teens.
- Parents will gain confidence and motivation to support their children.
- Improved partnerships between the afterschool programmes and parents.
- Create a process for identifying at-risk learners a lot sooner.
- Afterschool programmes can play a consultative role, by scheduling meetings with parents and learners.
- Include other stakeholders, e.g., Social Workers, Volunteer Psychologists, etc. where required.
How can we support Parents and Guardians?
We can coordinate Parents Information Sessions and invite subject experts and other guests. The forgood platform is a good source of subject experts and volunteers who are willing to facilitate virtual group discussions and meetings. They can also be invited to the centres under strict Covid-19 regulations. Below are examples of topics and interventions that teams can put together.
- Challenges experienced by teens during Covid-19.
- How to remain a great parent during Covid-19.
- Challenges that impact children during the pandemic.
- Understanding teens and their behaviour, etc.
- Tips for a healthy body and mind.
- Basic parenting tips and how to handle rebellious teenagers.
- What to do when you suspect that your child is using drugs and alcohol.
- How to show an interest in your child’s well-being and education.
- How to facilitate a good career conversation in your home.
- Sessions for parents to raise concerns about what they see in their community.
- Sessions for addressing challenges that impact all children, teens, and learners in the community.
- Create WhatsApp groups for parents (share useful YouTube videos and podcasts, and written text on valuable topics).
We can also become Real Public Benefit Organisations by extending some of the services to the nearest and other communities. There is a chance that more parents are sitting with major challenges, and they need the right skills to support their children.
Lastly, we can kill the silos and partner with more NPOs and afterschool programmes to share useful information and contacts, leverage resources and ideas, etc.
We hope that you are inspired to find new ways of supporting parents and wider communities. The list of ideas or examples that we shared above is way too concise, and organisations in the afterschool space are already doing great things to improve the way they support parents. These are the kind of ideas that we could share with partner organisations and colleagues.
We wish all organisations, the afterschool programmes, parents, learners, as well as donors who continue to enable our visions, good progress this year. We are indeed navigating the most uncertain times, but we will overcome.