2020 has been a year. The year that never seemed to begin and yet is halfway over. As summer ends we start to prep for the back to school season. Parents this year are faced with a difficult choice on how to proceed with schooling. We updated the Education and Childcare resource in the beginning of July, and you can find it HERE. Some schools are delaying their start while others seem to be moving ahead as planned. Many schools have set up plans based on the severity of our outbreak and currently we are in the most severe zone, meaning schooling would be at home today. My husband and I are struggling to decide on our own plan for our kids. We have so many unanswered questions and don’t really know what avenue to choose yet. All that said there are some things we are doing to prepare.
1. Practice wearing a mask
This is especially important for your youngest children. Small kids need to know the basics of putting on a mask and taking one off, just like they need to know how to button their own pants. Most likely a child who cannot put on a mask will have to be helped by the nurse which causes unnecessary disruption to the child’s day.
2. Practice hand washing
Hand washing should already be a skill in their arsenal, but this year is particularly important.
3. Talk about hugs
Often kids seek physical touch from their trusted adults. Discussions about why teachers and other students can’t hug right now are a good idea, especially if your child is a hugger. Most teachers divert hugs already, but to help alleviate hurt feelings open up a dialog now. You can also be the supplement and hug your child more at home and before sending them to school.
4. Purchase extra masks
I recommend at least two masks. One to wear and one for the back pack. This way if a child drops one in a toilet or sneezes nastiness into the one they are wearing, there is a back up. We have made a personal choice to buy five for each of our kids. We are particularly bothered by micro molds. We want to wash our kids’ masks each night so that they don’t have an issue with condensation building into molds within their masks. If you have enough, toss used masks into the washing machine. If not, it’s easy enough to add dish detergent and warm water, then rub, rub, rub and hang to dry. Zulily has deals on kid-friendly patterns in multipacks.
5. Purchase comfortable headphones
It is really hard for me to work in a loud environment. Can you imagine being a seven year old trying to listen to your teacher Zoom teach while your siblings are working? Comfortable headphones will help greatly, just be sure you grab some with a microphone too.
6. Consider self sufficiency for younger children
When purchasing shoes to lunch items, consider what your younger child can do on his/her own. Do not buy shoes with laces for younger children. Teachers will not want to have to touch shoe laces, and you won’t want your child having to keep retying laces that have dragged across the floor. When it comes to lunches, consider the following from TeacherGoals:
7. Create a routine
Children thrive in structured environments. Consider creating a block schedule in 3-4 hour increments if you end up in a homeschool situation. In a regular classroom there are time limits to subjects and times when they must move on. Help keep your kids from burning out by setting time limits and breaks. Schedule playtime, not only for the break but also so one child does not interrupt others in your home.
This year is/will be one of the hardest our kids deal with. There are so many uncertainties and variables it can be overwhelming. I honestly believe we are raising some of the strongest children yet. This generation has so much potential because of the stress they are enduring. Right now it is important that we try to pave a path for success and help our kids through this mess.
Are you doing anything special to prepare?