Building Emotionally Supportive Relationships with Students and Families: A Checklist of Ideas for Schools and Community Programs

This checklist from the Search Institute for school staff and community partners provides ideas for reaching out and building emotionally supportive relationships with students and families during the Coronavirus pandemic. We have already seen so many examples of Ohio schools using some of these methods. There are many emotional benefits for staff, as well, to reaching out. It is not a one-sided experience.

We would like to add to this list that if students or their family members are not well, pushing them to keep learning may be detrimental to their mental and physical health. In the case that they or someone in their family is sick, recommend rest and continue checking in with them often to offer words of hope and support. Encourage and support their friends and peers in sending words of support in the form of cards or phone calls as well, if appropriate.

Some notable family-friendly ideas from this checklist:

  • Tell your students that you believe in them and you know they will get through this difficult time, then move on with learning and growing.
  • Ask your students what they are doing or could be doing to help their parents, siblings, or others right now.
  • Send notes to parenting adults to suggest ways they can help their children stay connected to the work of your class or program while they are at home.
  • Tell your students about a crisis or difficult experience you went through when you were young and share how that crisis or experience shaped who you are today. Suggest to them that they talk to their families about how they have grown or changed as a family as a result of this experience.
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