Mental Health

Head Start Heals: Frequently Asked Questions

Mom along with dad who is holding their infant and toddler in each arm.Head Start Heals aims to increase awareness about how Head Start programs are uniquely qualified to address trauma and promote resilience for children and families. These handouts were compiled from FAQs submitted during the Head Start Heals campaign and related office hours. Each provides links to additional resources.

Topics include understanding trauma and supporting a trauma-informed approach; child abuse and neglect; engaging families; self-care and stress management; and supporting grief and loss. Also find information on supporting staff, families, and children during social distancing; talking to children about COVID-19; and transitioning back to school.

Child Abuse and Neglect

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is higher risk of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect cases as families are socially isolated and impacted by unemployment. Learn how you can help prevent child abuse and neglect.

Engaging Families

Teachers and support staff play a key role in engaging parents around children's learning and development. Share these creative tips with families to support learning at home.

Self-Care and Stress Management

In these non-traditional circumstances, feelings of worry, stress, and anxiety are intensified. Program staff can use this resource to help manage the anxieties of their families, as well as practice self-care themselves, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Grief and Loss

This handout can help program staff comfort young children who have lost a parent or family member. Explore strategies to support children and families dealing with grief and loss.

Supporting Staff, Families, and Children During Social Distancing

Protocols for social distancing, including staying 6 feet apart and voluntarily quarantining when possible, can feel unnatural. But social distancing does not mean social isolation. Learn how program staff can connect with families virtually to support their physical and mental well-being.

Supporting and Understanding Trauma During COVID-19

Children who have been impacted by trauma may react in many different ways. Use this resource to recognize the signs of trauma and discover ideas to support infant and toddlers virtually. Find resources to understand the long-term impact of children's academic and social and emotional well-being after a traumatic experience.

Talking to Children About COVID-19

Young children have questions about COVID-19. In this handout, program staff and parents can find sample responses to children's questions about COVID-19, and ideas to allay their fears and anxieties. Find additional resources to talk to children about the pandemic.

Transitioning Back to School

As programs and families prepare to return to school, it is important to consider how program staff can best support families and children during this transition. The return to school may include learning new routines, such as wearing a mask, and supporting children who may be experiencing separation anxiety. Explore this handout to walk through these scenarios and discover tips on how to ensure a smooth transition.