Tips for teachers – talking to parents if their children need extra support

Children will have a range of reactions on their return to school, from thoughts, feelings, behaviours to physical symptoms.

Most will be excited to be back and most will settle with the re-established consistent routines and support from parents and teachers. A small number of children may need extra support and guidance. If you notice reactions or changes in behaviours that have not settled and are out of character, talk with their parents about it, to problem solve and support.

As just one teacher, you might not have all the answers you need, but working collectively can help. Work with parents, other school staff, iwi, social and health agencies, and other services in your community.

Whakawhānaungātanga – take the time to connect, and listen to ensure genuine and authentic engagement, to build rapport.

Build rapport, take time for whakawhānaungātanga

Before talking with parents and whānau:

  • What was your relationship with the parent like before lockdown, how have you approached them previously? Consider the conversations you had with whānau, prior to covid19? What did you learn, that may be useful now?
  • Who would you communicate with? Are they still the main contact? Are you the best person to contact whānau at this time? Who else could be involved to assist?
  • Did you connect with the whānau during lockdown, were there any concerns raised? Do you know what the whānau priorities are at this time? Have you considered factors that may be impacting on this whānau? (e.g. housing, loss of income, access to usual supports)
  • How will you ensure whānau will be involved in decision making, going forward?
  • Have you talked with others about your observations?
  • Promote calm, take time to notice, engage and listen in the busyness of the day.
  • Hope is the belief that things will get better, and that people will recover. How will you promote hope? How will you reassure children and whānau that their feelings are normal? Will you be willing to support? Do you feel emotionally ready to provide support? Do you feel ready and able to have discussions with whānau?
  • Are children’s basic needs are being met? Do they have food, shelter, financial and material assistance? Does the family know what supports are available? Checking and providing help to access these first, will be a priority for whānau. Be aware your priorities may differ.
  • Self-efficacy is about having belief that actions will likely lead to positive change and outcomes and feeling able to help oneself. How will you help to promote this? How will you engage whānau in meeting their own needs? How can you assist with decision making or help with prioritising or problem solving. What skill-set will you need?
  • Will you help connect families to services or agencies that can help them? If not you, then who will do this?
  • Connectedness includes working together on solutions for the child. How will you keep connected with the whānau? Talk with them about future contact – how you will contact each other, when, how often, etc.
  • What cultural norms and family dynamics do you need to consider with this whānau? What religious beliefs or rituals are important to them? Are there gender or age considerations?
  • Is there support that you need? Who can you speak to? Who can you ask to support you?

Supporting whānau to meet their needs

  • Promote calm, take time to notice, engage and listen in the busyness of the day.
  • Hope is the belief that things will get better, and that people will recover. How will you promote hope? How will you reassure children and whānau that their feelings are normal? Will you be willing to support? Do you feel emotionally ready to provide support? Do you feel ready and able to have discussions with whānau?
  • Are children’s basic needs are being met? Do they have food, shelter, financial and material assistance? Does the family know what supports are available? Checking and providing help to access these first, will be a priority for whānau. Be aware your priorities may differ.
  • Self-efficacy is about having belief that actions will likely lead to positive change and outcomes and feeling able to help oneself. How will you help to promote this? How will you engage whānau in meeting their own needs? How can you assist with decision making or help with prioritising or problem solving. What skillset will you need?
  • Will you help connect families to services or agencies that can help them? If not you, then who will do this?
  • Connectedness includes working together on solutions for the child. How will you keep connected with the whānau? Talk with them about future contact – how you will contact each other, when, how often, etc.
  • What cultural norms and family dynamics do you need to consider with this whānau? What religious beliefs or rituals are important to them? Are there gender or age considerations?
  • Is there support that you need? Who can you speak to? Who can you ask to support you?

 

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback