Parents, educators and students are worried about whether kids will be going back to school in the fall.
Do we send children back to school and risk exposure to coronavirus or is distance learning the way to go again?
Are your kids asking “when do I go back to school”?
This pandemic has delivered lots of emotional and physical strain. Everyone is seeking guidance to make the best decision possible for their family. Most school districts have no solid plans so parents are overwhelmed. During Tea Talk Thursday a group of educators provided their honest assessment of what is happening and also how they are handling it as parents. You can catch the replay below.
All across the United States, school districts are devising plans for back to school. They are hosting zoom town hall meetings and sending surveys in hopes to get parent participation. In the Philadelphia area, the idea of 2 days in school and 3 days virtual learning has been thrown around but the debate continues. Safety and Equity of resources remain at the top of concerns as the threat of loss of resources looms around.
Coronavirus has proven that there are many benefits of working in partnerships with parents. Positive outcomes are expected when parents and educators work together. Whether you are considering in person learning, virtual learning or homeschool, he students have to remain top priority and all involved must continue to advocate for such.
As you continue to determine what makes sense for your family, here are some tips that you can consider with preparing the kids to return the school. Thanks to Jodi Ama, psychotherapist for contributing to these tips.
1. Remind yourself that you are empowered rather than disempowered. Especially with kids going back to school with COVID still rampant in many parts of our country, we deeply feel the “no choice” conundrum. But within every action you take you do have a choice. You may be struggling with only having to choose one, when you’d prefer two options, but it is still a choice. If you focus on what you can choose and do so consciously, this will empower you (instead of making you distracted by being out of control) to make other choices to make things work the best for your family.
2. Get your kids used to and comfortable with masks by wearing them frequently. Let them build up to many hours a day so they get used to it. It can be like wearing new prescription glasses. You might get dizzy the first day if you wear them too long. Have them do different activities with a mask so it becomes second nature. Don’t spend energy hating the mask, this exhausts you and can make you kids feel anxious and troubled. You have to model adaptability to them.
3. Role-play setting limits. This situation may increase times when other children aren’t respecting your child’s space. Some kids are not kinesthetically aware and may need to be reminded frequently to physically distance. Help your kids find the words to ask for space when they are in these situations. Practice doing this until they feel more comfortable.
4. Give them tips on what to do if they are bullied. One consequence of people feeling out of control is that they bully others to try to get a sense of control back. Just like every other year, make sure you speak to your kids about what to do if and when they are bullied. Get close to an adult, tell an adult, and tell you so you can decide next steps together.
5. Practice no face-touching. This is one of the hardest things is that people touch our eyes, nose and mouth constantly and now we need to train ourselves not to. For kids, especially if they have been home all this time, haven’t had to practice this yet. Try to come up with fun ways to learn not to touch one’s face. The masks may help with this, but there may be times when there is physically distancing possible and they may take masks off, like during lunch, before washing their hands and not having ever had to have this awareness, they may need to practice this. Rather than increasing anxiety, normalize this so your kids feel like taking smart action is an empowered way to live free of worry.
6. Immune boosting activities. Start now with healthy options like getting enough sleep and eating the right foods. A healthy immune system is our first barrier in protecting the body from disease and viruses. It is important in helping the body heal itself.
7. Schedule medical appointments. Most offices are now open and it is the perfect time to make certain that the children see the dentist and pediatrician. Schedule the yearly teeth cleaning, eye exams, and most importantly make certain that their vaccinations are up to date.
It’s important that we all do our part to try to bring end to this pandemic. It starts with washing your hands, social distancing and wearing a mask.