Caregiver Appreciation: Showing Gratitude to Our Biggest Helpers

What a year, what a year! Needless to say, the majority of us are exhausted from dealing with the challenges that COVID-19 has inflicted on our lives. While we enjoy our jobs because of the hands-on experiences and connections we make with our students, this last school year did not afford us these perks of our professions. One thing I know for certain is that we would not have survived this historic period without help from caregivers.  For the purpose of this blog, a caregiver refers to an individual who cares for a child during their allotted therapy time, including but not limited to biological parents, foster parents, grandparents, siblings, homecare health aides, and nannies. Join me in saying a great big “thank you” to express our gratitude for our surrogate service providers, the caregivers. In this post, I will detail three ways we can show them our appreciation. 

  1. Say “Thank you” and  Mean It 

Send a “thank you” email or text to caregivers detailing why you appreciate them. Your message can be short and sweet, but specific. For example, I could write:

 -Thank you for being present for your child.

- I admire the way you set a positive model for them. 

-I’ve enjoyed working with both of you this school year. 

Establishing the feeling of gratitude will encourage caregivers to continue to be hands-on participants. 

TIP: I serve a decent population of non-native English-speaking students. Send the words “Thank You” in the caregiver’s native language to make the message more personable. 

  1. Public Acknowledgment of Gratitude 

Tell other professionals, inside and outside of your discipline, how much of a star the caregiver has been. During IEP meetings or parent-teacher conferences, publicize the ways that the caregiver has helped their child focus, provided you with valuable information, or even attended the majority of their scheduled sessions on time. By highlighting their positive input, caregivers will remain happy participants on their child’s team. 

TIP: Encourage students to thank their caregivers for playing with them in therapy!

  1. Gift a card...and a gift card 

If you have a little extra money in your pocket, go the extra mile by presenting caregivers with stylish cards. Inside the card, write how grateful you are for their participation, and include a gift card as a special surprise. I recommend Vanilla or Amazon gift cards because they can be used for a variety of items and services. 

TIP: Handwrite your cards and add a special touch! Decorative stickers, hand-drawn designs, a quote that sums up their efforts, etc. This is where we get to showcase our creativity (especially us SLPs). 

We must remember that without caregivers, our jobs would have been immensely more challenging. So, my Stepping Stones Family, get ready, get set, go, and spread some gratitude! 

 

“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”- Alred North Whitehead

 

Author: Breeah S. Carey, M.S., CF-SLP

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