Community gatherings, potlucks, and school parties are great opportunities to re-engage the caregivers, older siblings, and families that your program supports year-round. These events, in addition to being fun and light-hearted, can build protective and supportive factors for families and children experiencing adversity.
The benefit of out-of-school time goes beyond the social-emotional to the physical needs of families. According to the Afterschool Alliance, more than 4 in 5 parents in communities of concentrated poverty say that afterschool programs help working parents keep their jobs.
When faced with tight budgets and short timelines, engaging families can be challenging, especially for young professionals and volunteers. At Healthier Generation, we are grateful for the work of out-of-school leaders and believe professional development that builds adult capacity is key.
In #SummerSwap: 5 Ideas to Boost Your Breakfast Game, I shared Healthier Generation’s new family health and wellness initiative, Kohl’s Healthy at Home, meant to help families prioritize a healthy lifestyle. As we begin a New Year, here are 3 practices to champion along with resources to support you.
- Champion simplicity. Even small changes can make a big impact, like sending positive and consistent messaging through healthy rewards and healthy fundraisers.
- Champion inclusion. Planning a community celebration? Make it healthy and inclusive with our Healthy Celebrations Guide. Consider how adding cooperative physical activity to your event can foster trust and connectedness with families. For budget-friendly ideas, check out my past BOOST blog, Discount Store Scavenger Hunt.
- Champion collaboration. Connect with your school wellness council or food service staff to touch base on strengthening social supports for children and families experiencing food insecurity. For a shareable conversation starter, download Healthier Generation’s Social Supports Roadmap, which outlines rationale and action steps.
BONUS: Champion staff self-care. As family dynamics change and communities face social-emotional challenges, supporting staff who serve on the frontlines has become even more important. Watch one of our new #SelfCareSunday videos for simple ideas to cultivate mindfulness, gratitude, playfulness, and connectedness. Combine team-building and DIY activities at your next staff meeting with these fun wellness-themed projects.
What are your favorite family engagement tips and resources? Tweet to me using @hatchdw.
Stay tuned to the Healthier Generation family engagement hub for more tools coming this year. The first phase focuses on Eating Healthy at Home! New resources we will introduce include webinars, simple recipes and shareable infographics.
Many thanks to my colleagues Kayla and Katie from our family engagement team for their support in writing this article.
For breakfast, I had oatmeal, coffee, and a big glass of water!