How do I support children and families as they return to child care?
COVID-19 has changed our world and daily lives in so many ways, both big and small, impacting every person and family differently. For many of families with young children, the reopening of child care programs is the latest change and brings a mix of new feelings and concerns. You may be relieved for the familiarity it will bring, the social and developmental opportunities for your kids, or your ability to return more fully to work.
But like any transition, this may also come with challenges and anxieties, including the impact of once again disrupting routines and how it will effect your child to return to a program that will be different than it was before, from new drop-off protocols to staff wearing masks. This may be stressful and scary at first for both kids and families, as well as the child care providers that work so hard to create a safe and nurturing place for children. For these providers, this time also means new health guidance to navigate, continued financial worries, and perhaps uncertainty about how this new reality will all work.
What both families and child care providers share right now is the desire to make sure children’s health is taken care of through this time of transition, including their social emotional development and well being. Luckily, there are many resources and tools out there to help with this, from how to talk about masks to setting up new routines to bring reassurance and stability.
The CIS team and our partners put together a resource document you can download the pdf and read them here. I hope these resources will help both families and child care providers think about some of the things to consider in promoting social emotional development during this transition, as well as providing information about where you can access some additional support if you need it as a parent, program, or staff member. I, and the partners who helped pull together this information, encourage you to check out the resource list including concrete tools, ideas, and strategies to help kids, families, and each other with our mental health and social emotional well being during this challenging time.
-Morgan Cole, MPP, Director, Children’s Integrated Services | Child Development Division, Vermont Department for Children and Families
Resources for Vermont Families & Child Care Providers
Where can I go for supports?
The resources and contact information below can provide you with services and supports to meet your needs as a family and/or child care provider.
Help Me Grow Vermont promotes the healthy development of children (prenatal through age eight) by supporting families and early educators to link children and families to the services and supports they need. A trained child development specialist is available to answer your questions about available community resources and take referrals on behalf of families with children. Dial 2-1-1 ext. 6, text HMGVT to 898211, or refer a child or family here.
Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) or call 2-1-1 ext. 6
CIS offers supports to families and child care programs that help ensure the healthy development and well-being of children, pre-natal through age 5 including home visiting, early intervention, specialized child care (up through age 12) and early childhood and family mental health treatment and some consultation to child care providers.
Community mental health agencies can provide a variety of mental health services and supports to children and families, including individual and family therapy, service planning and coordination, parenting support, behavioral consultation, community and skill-building supports, and psychiatry.
Services include early childhood supports, home visits to families with young children, playgroups, parent education, parent support, and information and referral.
AOE Early Education division offers support of children, early educators and families through the Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) (Birth -Grade 3). Resources include: Early Childhood Special Education Services webpages, VELS educator and family webpages, and Universal Prekindergarten (Act 166) information, and Universal Prekindergarten newsletter (UPK Café) archives. AOE.UPK@vermont.gov
Text “VT” to 741741 for free, confidential support anytime about any type of crisis.
Where can I go for additional resources about COVID-19 and Early Childhood?
The websites below have many tools and resources to help with ideas, planning, and strategies to support the children and families during this time.
This website has COVID-19 information and resources for schools and childcare including information on helping children and families transition and adjust, helping children wear cloth face coverings, and health guidance for child care and summer programs.
BBF improves the well-being of all children and families in Vermont by using evidence to inform policy and bringing voices together to discuss critical challenges and problem-solve. The COVID-19 website is a compilation of statewide resources for basic needs, mental health, safety, health, childcare and more.
This website features information, tools, and resources for both families and early educators to support children’s social emotional development and resilience.
Let’s Grow Kids works to strengthen early childhood education, building a movement, policy change and research.
Northern Lights at CCV is the hub of the professional development system for early childhood and after school professionals in Vermont.