After schools closed last March due to the coronavirus, parents probably did not expect to still be in a place of uncertainty regarding the reopening for the new school year.
Most of us thought we’d be sending our kids back to school by now and life would return to normal. We didn’t anticipate having to make difficult decisions about what choices to make about going back to school. But that is the position we’re finding ourselves in.
Should our children continue with digital education or go back to the classroom in person?
If your city or county is offering you a choice between digital learning or in-person classes, you may be struggling to know what to do. Perhaps you enjoyed having more time with your kids in the spring during distance learning. Or maybe you want them to return to school in person, but you worry greatly about the virus.
Each family has to make the choice best for them, of course. But no matter if you decide on digital learning or in-person school, though, there are helpful steps to take to make school during COVID a positive experience.
The first step is presenting your choice to your kids in a way that will help them.
Set an Example
Your kids are watching your reactions, behaviors, and words during this time of pandemic. They notice if you’re fearful or not. And they see if you blow off health precautions or take them seriously.
Because of this, it’s vital to set a good example for them when it comes to dealing with choices during the pandemic. You want to be realistic but not overly fearful.
Plan Out How You’ll Tell Your Children
As you keep the fact that your example speaks volumes in mind, plan out how you’ll tell your kids of your choice for schooling in the fall. For example, if you’re going to keep them at home, explain your reasons calmly. You don’t want to create panic or set them up for anxiety issues in the future.
Likewise, if you decide to send them to school in person, find a responsible way to share this information with them. Share accurate information about wearing masks and washing hands. Discuss the importance of social distancing. And let them know that you wouldn’t be sending them back if you didn’t think it was okay.
It can be tempting to be as hands-off as possible when it comes to your child’s schooling. This is especially true if you’re overwhelmed with your own work, managing your home, and juggling schedules.
But your child will have a much more positive experience—whether online or at school—if you take the time to get involved. Actively engage in their reading and other assignments. And show them that you care about what they’re learning.
Perhaps living through this pandemic has made you realize even more how important your kids are to you. There’s no time like the present to get more involved in their lives.
Continue the Conversation
The subject of the coronavirus and how to live during the pandemic will be around for some time. Your kids will continue to have questions about it, and it’s important that you help them process the issue.
So model kindness and empathy by listening carefully to them. Take their concerns seriously. Tailor your responses about the virus to fit their age and developmental level. Be open, but don’t obsess about the virus. And monitor and limit how much news media all of you take in.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused about sending your kids back to school in the fall, remember that you’re not alone. There’s a lot of information to process and wade through. You love your kids more than anything and want to do what’s best for them. But you also need to weigh concerns like employment, mental health, and the health risks of people in your household.
Talking with a counselor can be very helpful when making big decisions like that. If you need help walking through your options or would like to know more about how to discuss the situation with your children, please contact us.