Lockdown toolkit

We’ve put together a range of resources to inspire and equip you to build loving connections with families in the First Thousand Days during lockdown.

“In my empty house with a tiny crying stranger, I have never felt more alone. But then, something happened. The doorbell rang: a church member dropping off a meal. The phone rang: an older mother from church asking me how I was doing. My heart lifted: the prayers of God’s people being answered. In the days following each child’s arrival, the people of my local church reminded me: the church is my family.”
From Risen Motherhood

We are wired for human connection. In this time of lockdown, however, building meaningful friendships with parents has unique challenges. Here are frequently asked questions to assist you as you journey with families. There are videos, articles, blogs, infographics and more.

Our hope is that these resources will strengthen and inspire you, while other resources can be used to share with mom or dad as information is needed.

If you have any further questions or require more information please email info@sikunye.org.za

It can be challenging to have a constructive positive empathetic conversation with someone you care about, especially via text message or phone. Here are some conversation starters and tips on listening with empathy to help you get going 

How to listen with empathy - Brene Brown – Empathy is the choice of feeling with people

We would recommend checking-in with mom or dad once a week. However, in some situations mom or dad may need you to check-in as regularly as every day. Here are some resources for further guidance on how regularly to check-in with mom or dad.

You may feel out of your depth if mom or dad are struggling or there is stress in the home. There are several things that could be causing parents and caregivers problems at this time. Please remember that you do not need to fix or solve the problems for mom or dad. Your role is to be a listening ear that is supportive and encouraging (see document “What if mom or dad is struggling”). Keep affirming mom or dad with positive statements like you see in the resource “How to positively affirm and encourage mom and dad. IMPORTANTLY refer to their health care provider or professionals if needed. 

  • Article:First-baby stress in new dads – how to deal with anxiety, guilt and isolation, postpartum depression as a new dad 
  • Maternity Booklet:Caring for Mothers | Caring for You. Information, suggestions, and support for mothers and those that care for them 
  • Website: Perinatal Mental Health Project Website has various resources for mothers, fathers, family and friends for during pregnancy and other topics 
  • Website: Parenting during COVID-19 resources available in various languages (these infographics can be shared with parents)

Share with Mom and Dad

Being prepared for birth helps mom and dad enjoy the birth experience. During lockdown, so many moms and dads are uncertain about what to expect and may feel even more anxious about giving birth. Here are some resources that you can share with mom and dad to help them prepare for the big day.

All families need support, but lockdown can limit the ways we are familiar with. We have identified some ideas of how you can practically care. Some families, however, need more significant help, like food security. We recommend making use of existing organisations to assist and ensure families have what they need. If you come across other helpful ideas and opportunities, please share them with us.

Fatherhood plays a profound part in a baby’s development. This is so much greater than simply being ‘present’; it is being actively engaged and responding to baby. Play your part in seeing that dad is growing and loving mom and baby during lockdown.

A stay-at-home dad in Belize shares his story of being super dad |UNICEF

David Beckham shares his journey as a dad |UNICEF

Baby talk for dads – where baby talking with dad helps grow their brains! |UNICEF

Healthy, caring relationships with mom or dad will have clear expectations of who does what is appropriate or inappropriate. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, or can’t say no, then explore these resources to build and maintain healthy boundaries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on mental health, especially that of pregnant and new moms, and dads. There are many resources available on this topic – here are a few websites and tips on how mom or dad can take care of their mental health during this time.

Documentary about postnatal depression in Khayelitsha, Cape Town | PMHP

Here are some useful contacts of organisations and helplines that parents can make use of for professional support or assistance.

Research, conclusions and medical information on COVID-19 are regularly updated. You don’t have to be an expert, but it is good to know where to find the experts. Here are links to some useful resources that we feel give good, reliable, and relevant information around COVID-19 and parenting during lockdown.

COVID-19 resources
Being pregnant during COVID-19
Parenting in COVID-19

Nutritious food, love, play and protection from harm in the early years shape children’s brain development for life. Here is some information on each building block essential to a child’s development.

Adequate Nutrition

The right nutrition during the First Thousand Days for mom and baby can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to develop and learn. Healthy food during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and nutritious complementary food after 6 months, will give baby what is needed for healthy growth and development. Below are some helpful resources on nutrition

Some things to consider in this Covid-19 crisis:
  • Is mom eating well?
  • Is a food parcel needed?
    For families seeking food security during this time, contact your local NGO, Community Forums or CANs to find out what is available that families can access
  • Encourage mom to breastfeed but if she is battling refer her to speak to her health care provider or a specialist
  • See above COVID-19 resources for FAQ around breastfeeding with COVID-19

The “infinite benefits” of breastmilk | Bernard van Leer Foundation

Early Learning / Play / Stimulation

Moms, dads, and caregivers can create opportunities for learning starting as early as in the womb. Babies learn and develop in language-rich homes where moms, dads and caregivers are talking, signing , reading, smiling, making eye contact, and playing simple games like “peek-a-boo.” Mom or dad can talk to baby while doing everyday routine household tasks. Below are a range of resources and tools to assist parents with many ideas to play and stimulate brain development.

How to book-share with your child | Mikulu Trust
Relationships that are nourishing help nurture resilient and curious children, and any caregiver – regardless of their formal education – can provide this support when given the right tools. Mikhulu Trust encourages parents to book-share with their children.

Why does responsiveness matter? A video highlighting why parent interactions with their child is important

Good Health

Good health is important for both the child and the caregiver. It is important for mothers and their babies to continue attending antenatal and postnatal visits with their health care provider (i.e. local clinic); and that baby’s immunisations stay up to date. See the immunisations schedule and other important information regarding Covid-19 and maternal health below. Please see the COVID-19 section for more general FAQ resources.

Love / Responsive caregiving

The relationship/loving bond between a mom/dad and baby is vitally important for the healthy development of a young child. Before baby can speak, the interaction between the parent and the child expressed through cuddling, eye contact, smiles, vocalization and gestures creates an emotional bond, that helps the child to understand the world around them and learn about people, relationships and language. These social interactions also stimulate brain development and help the child to feel loved, safe and secure. Here are some helpful resources for parents to learn more about the value of these parent-child interactions.

Why does responsiveness matter? A video highlighting why parent interactions with their child is important

The importance of responsive caregiving | Side by Side

  • Document: One-on-one time: Ideas on how to improve parent-children relationships during lockdown

Our ultimate hope and security come from knowing God. Here are some ideas to encourage and point moms and dads to the hope found in the Bible. Use these to pray with and for mom and dad as you journey with them in these uncertain and difficult times of Covid-19 crisis.