Being a parent comes with its challenges. Being a parent during a global pandemic, even more so. How do you answer your kids’ questions about the pandemic? How do you respond to questions about school closures and not being able to see their friends? How can you take care of yourself while taking care of your children? Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre designed a course to address all those questions, worries, and fears that parents have had during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our facilitator had initially come up with a 4 session group that incorporated parenting strategies and how to make it through these challenging times,” says Randie Johnson of Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre. “Topics were related to finding compassion, talking about stress, responding to Children’s emotions, how to create connections, etc. These were based on some trends we were seeing from the news and commonalities we saw and heard from parents we already were working with at Norwood. After these 4 sessions were up, the parents wanted more!”
Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre is an Edmonton nonprofit designed to support children and families to build a strong community. They are one of the 12 partner organizations working with the Wellness Network Learning Community.
The course, Parenting in a Pandemic, was designed as a way to support parents during a challenging time while maintaining social distancing. Parenting in a Pandemic’s facilitator, Amanda, took suggestions from parents to determine what were the most pressing challenges and what would be discussed at each session.
“[Amanda] will respond to different parents’ needs from the group with follow-up calls and other resources throughout the week to ensure parents have all the info necessary based on their discussions,” says Johnson.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced childcare centres to be closed since mid-March. Organizations have had to respond quickly to changes and adapt to meet the evolving needs of families.
Johnson says that Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre kept their focus on Early Childhood Development and its participants.
“Almost all of the families connected to Norwood were contacted to ask what supports were needed,” says Johnson, “We continued to do ‘home visits’ online, we provided virtual groups, we delivered a lot of activity kits for families connected to Norwood and to families where they were at. We continued to check-in on families and found creative ways of providing the different programs we used to offer in this new way of working.”
Like many organizations throughout Edmonton, these changes did not come without challenges.
“Our biggest obstacle was technology and families having access to pieces of technology or internet.”
Even with access to technology limited, Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre was able to adapt and find new ways to connect with their families.
“We were able to facilitate families receiving different pieces of technology and internet through a series of referrals. Families were able to maintain connection, access to service, and have that access to child development and parenting knowledge.”
As part of Alberta’s relaunch plan, daycares and out of school care have been allowed to reopen since May 14th.
If you are interested in attending one of the online courses offered by Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre please contact 780-471-3737.