This new school year is now perhaps even scarier than last year because kids are getting affected by the Delta virus variant of COVID.
Yet, we are all aware that children need to be in class. The school environment provides children not just with an education, but with the outlet and social setting needed to flourish.
My children truly enjoyed virtual schooling last year. Who doesn’t love waking up and going to school in PJs and then not having much homework and schoolwork? Who wouldn’t love to be home and just watch a screen all day? They loved getting away with turning off their screen and skipping on assignments the minute I didn’t pay attention.
The truth was though, I realized later in the year, that the slide they experienced was real and had affected their learning capability as well.
Yes, I know it was a pandemic. Yes, I know the teachers did the best they could in the given situation. Yes, I know our children were troopers during possibly one of the hardest situations of their life.
All that being said, while I don’t expect my children to get A’s, there were simple solutions that could have prevented my children and many others from sliding down instead of inching forward.
The school system and processes are unfortunately more politically influenced than we all like. Not much is in our hands. The solutions are simple but the implementation somehow gets left out because of the “this is how we have always done it” mentality. After all, it was ridiculous for people to expect children to put in their full effort only to show their answers on screen.
During my author visits, I would feel at a loss when interacting with children because of lag in screen time, or the size of the screen, or voices trailing off. This is why I have great respect for all teachers now.
But all this is also why children have to be at school, and why it is difficult to send children to school with an open mind.
How then do we find our way through the upcoming, uncertain school year?
THINK OF THE COMMUNITY
If your child falls sick, coughs, has an upset tummy or is feeling unwell in general, stay home. That is paramount. We all know a lot of times parents are forced to send kids to school with the hopeful thought that “Oh! It’s probably nothing!” But in a pandemic, a cough, a sneeze could be something much more. So be proactive in caring for the kids and for yourself.
- Even if you are under the weather, keep the kids home.
- Get tested just to be sure.
- Avoid large group gatherings indoors.
- Wear a mask.
- Get vaccinated.
TELL KIDS TO SANITIZE THEIR HANDS EVERY HOUR
Kids older than Grade 1 can usually tell the time. This is a great trigger for kids to sanitize their hands. Make sure to use aloe vera sanitizer to keep hands from getting dry. Teach them to wash their hands properly when possible instead of only always sanitizing.
TAKE KIDS OUT AND PRACTICE WEARING A MASK
I know a lot of people are avoiding doing things totally to keep kids safe, which is of course important. But it is essential to teach kids to wear masks properly and avoid touching things.
TALK TO KIDS ABOUT HUGS AND PERSONAL SPACE
My kids had gone to soccer camp and my son told me that my daughter was hugging a lot of kids. We had a talk about how hugs and kisses should be special. If a child is sad or upset, hug them to make them feel better after asking if they’re comfortable with receiving it. But teach them to respect personal space now more than ever.
KEEP CONVERSATIONS POSITIVE
Your fears will seep into your child. Every emotion you feel does that so this will too. When talking about school, keep your tone and attitude optimistic so that children feel comfortable.
BE OKAY WITH CHANGES IN LIFE
A lot of people who follow me on Instagram messaged me asking me what I was doing for the school year. They come from a place of “I need to make decisions so I can plan.” I totally get that. But what works for my family, may not work for yours. I personally have decided to send kids to school and if things get troublesome, am willing to homeschool. That is because I am in a position to make that choice.
This is a pandemic. And we are at a time in history where everything is clear and yet people are divided. It is partly because of misinformation, and partly because we as humans are averse to change not created or chosen by us. But in the coming school year, we all have to remember that these times call for fluid decision making. These times call for an open mind and heart and adaptability.