Communicating with students, their families, and caregivers looks very different during this time of social distancing.

Children may not be safe at home or may be hesitant to share that their family needs support.

Child-serving professionals can play an important role in helping a family access available services during this time. Mandated Reporters must, and everyone else is encouraged to, report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE). 

Since April 2020, we’ve worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to produce a list of resources related to abuse and violence prevention, as well as crisis support, that you might find helpful as we weather the current pandemic. 

We’ve also worked with the Illinois State Board of Education and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois to develop this Guidance for Delivering Sexual Abuse Prevention Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

With help from the Granite State Children’s Alliance, ChicagoCAC has developed a sheet of tips for Illinois teachers on how to check on a child’s wellness during periods of remote learning. These communication tips were developed by KNOW & TELL, an education program of the Granite State Children’s Alliance (GSCA). GSCA serves as the network of Child Advocacy Centers in New Hampshire, providing technical assistance, training, and organizational resources across the State. 

Here are some questions/talking points that may help you check in on the well-being of children, their families, and caregivers while communicating in a virtual setting.

Routine check-in questions

  • How are you feeling today?
  • How was your night?
  • How can I help you today?
  • Who is home to help you with learning today?
  • How are you doing with our new way of learning?
  • What has been working well?
  • What has not been working well?
  • What fun things do you have planned today?  What else would you like to share with me today?

Reassurance and validation statements

  •  This new way of learning feels different and we’ll get through it together.
  •  You did a great job completing ___ assignment; thank you!
  •  I miss teaching in the classroom and look forward teaching in person again.

Questions specific to wellness

  •  What did you have for breakfast? For lunch? For dinner?
  •  What have you been doing inside/outside during the day?
  •  What is the best part about your day? What was the hardest part about your day?
  •  What do you like about being home from school?
  •  What do you miss about not going to school?
  •  What have you been doing for exercise?
  •  How is your family? Is there anything that you or your family need during this time?
  •  I know you and ___ are friends; have you been able to keep in touch with each other?
  •  Have you been able to talk to other family members or friends during this time? How are they doing?
  •  How are you sleeping? Are you getting enough sleep?

Observations & response statements

  •  I know you like to ___; have you been able to keep up with it?
  •  I’ve noticed/it was shared that you have been struggling; how can I help you with that?
  •  I’m hearing some other noises in the background; what else is happening at your house today?
  •  I saw a younger/older person walk by your screen; who is home with you today?

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