When you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically well, you are better able to engage families in positive and goal-oriented relationships.
Whether you are a family services professional or home visitor, or a supervisor or program leader who supports staff in these roles, your efforts make family engagement possible. Everyone is more effective in their work, however, when they feel well. Staff wellness is an Office of Head Start priority, particularly given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your role involves leading and supervising others, you can support and strengthen the wellness of those around you. By promoting wellness, you can have a profound and positive influence on the success of your program's family engagement work.
If you work directly with families, feeling well allows you to better engage with each family member in a positive and goal-oriented relationship. These relationships, in turn, can improve both staff and family wellness.
Your Wellness Matters
Wellness, also called health or well-being, is more than the absence of disease. Wellness helps children and adults cope with the challenges of everyday life, resist infections, and feel a sense of personal well-being as they interact with others. Wellness is part of every area of life and includes social, emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational, and spiritual wellness.
A Special Note for Family Services Professionals and Home Visitors
Partnering with families to support their progress toward program and personal goals is rewarding and stressful. If you are a family services professional or a home visitor, you balance many responsibilities. You may travel to families' homes, engage with families virtually, help families access community services, or work with other staff and supervisors. At the same time, you may witness the trauma and adversity many families experience. The role as witness can be upsetting and stressful.
It is important to remember that some feelings of stress are natural when you are working with families who are experiencing serious adversity or trauma. But high levels of stress can interfere with your own wellness, work-life balance, or ability to positively engage with families and other staff. This kind of interference is a sign that you would benefit from greater self-care and program supports for staff wellness.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: October 17, 2022