Many children already have a hard time starting school, either for the first time or after a long summer break. But, amid starting school in a pandemic can throw a whole spin on what learning looks like.
Parents also face a new challenge in sending off children, who have grown accustomed to long stretches at home, to school. If you follow me on social you know that it was a huge decision to send KJ to school. This is his first year and here in Georgia, the pandemic is spiking back up again.
Since I know there are so many families wondering what to do and how to safely return, I thought it would be best to give you my insight into preparing you and your children to go to school in a pandemic:
School in a Pandemic: Prepping Your Children, You, and Your Spouse
Setting a Routine
Routines are great because then we know what to expect. This is true for parents and for kids.
With the world constantly changing from day to day, it’s exhausting for everyone. With routines, we know what to do. “When I get to class, I have to sit down. I have to wear my mask.” If I don’t know where I’m going tomorrow, for some kids that’s fine. For a lot of kids, they are a little more anxious.
Routine reduces some anxiety and builds in some structure and peace of mind.
It’s also helpful for the parents to have a routine in place with managing work, new school environments, and everyday life.
Coping with New Environments and Safety Protocols
Some children may get extremely anxious at the thought of going back while others maybe not so much. It’s important either way to have a plan prepared.
Bring up opportunities to utilize coping skills. “If it does get tough, what can you do? Where is the school nurse?” Walk them through the process.
If they have that panic moment, it’s important they know there are support systems in place both at home and at school. Process with them as they adjust to school life. Instead of probing style questions; ask general questions “How was school for you? Was it what you expected?”
Help Them Flex Their Social Muscles
This pandemic has taken a toll on kids who have missed out on social interactions for the last year and a half, so it’s important that we try to get our kids together with friends in safe ways as much as possible before school starts in person.
That way, easing back in might be simpler.
While it’s still warm outside we have the luxury of going to the parks and pools which allow us to have fun and socially distance ourselves.
Making Everyone Feel Safe
Understand yourself and your kid. If you’re an anxious person by nature, what can you say that will be received in a positive way? It isn’t always going to be sunshine and lollipops. But, you know yourself and your child and can make the best decisions based on what’s best for everyone.
Be age-appropriate. Your average first grader doesn’t need to know about COVID rates and where we are in the vaccine process.
Yes, the situation is a little scary because it’s a once-in-a-century event. Yet, the skills in being able to relate to your little one haven’t changed.
If You Need It, Get Help
Raising kids during a pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone. When parents try to push through the tough times or troubleshoot everything on their own, the process can be even more challenging — and draining.
Instead of going it alone, reach out to the people who you trust to support you and your child, consider teachers, coaches, their pediatrician, and even a counselor.
Asking for help during these times has truly been a saving grace for so many families. Try not to be ashamed – literally, everyone is navigating an entirely new world for the first time. You’re not alone!
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you plan to keep your child at home this year, check out my other blog: Creating a learning At-Home Area for Kids.