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In this workshop, you’ll remind families that they are the “helping hands” who can help children through difficult times. Give each parent a copy of the printable.

  1. Encourage parents to think about all they do with their hands every day, especially things that involve their child. Remind them, “You pat their backs and squeeze their cheeks. You button and snap their clothes. You hold hands crossing the street to keep your child safe from danger. You clap your hands to encourage her or celebrate her accomplishments.” 
  2. Tell parents that now they’ll use their hands to remember the most important points of helping children through troubling times: “We often use our hands to count on our fingers. In this case, we can count five specific things to remember as we help our children cope during chaotic or stressful times.” 
  3. Distribute pencils and paper (one sheet per parent). Have parents trace their hands on the paper and encourage them to write one of the following words (below) on each finger and think about its meaning, then discuss each.  

Guide the conversation to include the descriptions below (there are more details on the printable, which you can review together): 

Helping Hands: Remembering we’re not alone, there are always helpers 

Hugs: Feeling safe and secure, comforted and reassured 

Hearts: Appreciating the power of kindness and compassion, showing empathy 

Hear: Talking, listening, communicating 

Here: Keeping familiar routines and being present 

  1. Ask parents to describe what each strategy might look like in action, in real life. Put special emphasis on the “Hear” page, on which there are ideas for answering children’s questions. Have parents brainstorm answers to the questions. Then emphasize that while it’s okay to say they don’t know, it’s also important to let children know that these events hardly ever happen (even though we hear about them a lot in the news when they do occur) and that we do know what makes a person act so badly (a very rare illness in a person’s brain).  
  1. You might conclude by discussing ways parents can apply these 5 H’s to take care of themselves during troubling times, as well, so that they can take better care of children.