Back to School is not Back to Normal
For many kids, back-to-school shopping is one of their favorite times of the year: picking out new school supplies and new clothes and getting ready to see their friends every single day. But this year, back-to-school shopping has a different feel to it. With the COVID-19 pandemic still an issue in the United States, what exactly will this new school year look like?
While the decision on sending kids back to in-person schooling is up in the air and will vary in different parts of the country, now is the time to start preparing for what that might look like in the fall.
Tips for In-Person Schooling
Here are some tips to help you prepare your kids for their return to an old, yet new, environment.
There are a lot of rumors and misinformation circulating. It’s important to know the facts and get them from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Your kids are going to have questions–lots of questions. But it’s important to filter their intake of news or social media. Encourage them to come to you with their questions and concerns and be as honest as possible with your answers. There are still so many unknowns, but according to the Child Mind Institute, keeping your kids in the dark will actually cause them more worry and anxiety. Keep the information you share simple and true.
We are always reminding kids “cover your mouths” and “wash your hands”, but right now it has to be more than a suggestion. Teach your kids how to properly wash their hands and practice it often. Demonstrate how to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Actively remind them not to touch their nose, mouth, and face. Teach them how far six feet is with real objects; stand on opposite ends of a yoga mat or hold one end of a dog leash and spread out until it’s taut. And, if appropriate for the age of your kids, ensure they wear a mask when necessary.
Teach these practices out of safety and not fear. The goal isn’t to make kids afraid of other people, but rather to instill in them a sense of responsibility when it comes to keeping themselves and others safe as they go back to school.
The CDC asks that you monitor your health and your child’s health daily. Watch for fever, cough, sore throat, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, follow CDC guidelines and err on the side of caution.
It’s a time of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: kids will follow the tone you set for this upcoming school year. Stay as calm and as positive as possible when talking with your kids about going back to school. Most importantly, stay engaged with your kids as they head back or do their schooling from home. Regularly check in with their mental and emotional states to ensure that every part of their lives stays healthy.