If you have Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) benefits through your group benefits plan, now is a great time to explore what resources are available to you.

Finding a good childcare program, getting the kids to school on time and registering for that last coveted summer camp spot—these are the typical stresses of coordinating kids and work. Working from home … with your kids—this is something new entirely.

You’re now simultaneously an employee, a parent and a pandemic expert. As you and your children transition to this new normal at home, it might feel overwhelming. EFAP can help. EFAP provides short-term, confidential, professional counselling services and online tools to help you through many of life’s challenges. EFAP is delivered by our partner Homewood Health and is set up to support you remotely—whether through online or over-the-phone counselling sessions or through e-learning materials.

As a parent, you might be looking for help addressing the COVID-19 topic with your kids or you might be looking for support in dealing with the general stress and anxiety you’re feeling. EFAP offers support in these areas and others.

Tips for parents and guardians caring for children during COVID-19

Homewood Health offers some helpful tips for talking with your kids about COVID-19 in the article ‘Quick tips and guidance for parents, guardians and anyone tasked with the care of children’.

  • Find out what your child already knows—ensure you ask questions at an age appropriate level. For older children, you may ask, “what are your friends saying”, for younger kids, you might ask, “have you heard grownups talking about people being sick”.
  • Offer comfort and honesty—help your child feel safe but maintain honesty. Keep your conversations grounded and concise, offering details to their level of satisfaction.
  • Remember to speak calmly and reassuringly—listen for opportunities to provide guidance and pay particular attention to how and where kids are getting information.
  • Give them a sense of control—have children complete or manage tasks so they feel they have control. Teach them about the benefits of healthy eating and snacking, adequate sleep and the importance of washing their hands so they know how to care for themselves.
  • Frequent check-ups—keep up to date and check in with your children frequently. Use COVID-19 as a learning opportunity when possible. Ask questions to learn more about their understanding or lack thereof and encourage dialogue where possible.

You can read the full article by signing into your EFAP account here.

More resources for parents during COVID-19

Homewood Health has hundreds of articles and other resources available online. Here are a few that might help as you transition to a work-from-home environment with your family.  

  • COVID-19-related articles—titles like ‘Quelling COVID-19 news anxiety’, ‘COVID-19: virtual workplaces’, and ‘COVID-19: managing stress and anxiety’ can help you deal with the added stressors of this pandemic.
  • Online course—Homewood Health offers online courses that address a range of topics. Their featured-course Taking control of stress is particularly relevant right now as stress and anxiety can start to overwhelm us. The course focusses on key stress management skills you can use today.
  • E-counselling or phone-counselling—if you’d like to talk to someone online, through video chat or through a phone session, counselling services are available. Log in or register here or call 1-800-663-1142.

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