Five-year-old Jennifer loves her father, Jack. Her mother died during childbirth so Jack is her sole parent. Jennifer also loves getting up in the morning, playing with her dolls, going to school and seeing Ms. Edwards.
Ms. Edwards is the Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) Family Support Specialist at Jennifer’s Head Start school. Ms. Edwards always smiles at Jennifer and loves to play games. She helps Jennifer feel calm and happy, unlike her life at home with Jack. For you see, Jennifer doesn’t fully understand that her father is afraid to go outside sometimes, and his discomfort causes mood swings that scare her.
In mid-March, Jennifer’s routine changes dramatically when the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes its way to Tulsa. School stops, and she spends more time with Jack and can’t see Ms. Edwards anymore. She doesn’t understand why she can’t play with her friends at school, and why she and Jack are both at home all of the time.
Jack struggles more than normal. He doesn’t know how to manage his day, feels embarrassed that he doesn’t have a job and refuses to play with Jennifer outside. When Ms. Edwards calls to check on the family, he breaks down. This is the lifeline he needs.
After speaking to Ms. Edwards, Jack immediately begins to feel better. He shares his concerns about COVID-19 and wants to know how to address his daughter’s anxiety. Ms. Edwards said she would connect Jack to a F&CS therapist.
Because F&CS provides teletherapy during COVID-19, Jack quickly obtains an appointment with someone who helps both he and Jennifer. He is also thrilled to receive a food box from F&CS that contains simple age-appropriate games for Jennifer to play with her. Life becomes bearable and less stressful.
Two weeks later, Jack and Jennifer not only benefits from services but finds new ways to spend time with each other, despite the isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges faced, many families are incredibly resilient, but sometimes need a little help.
The Family & Children’s Services Early Childhood Program team is ready to help. Call 918-587-9471 for an appointment.