We now have a pretty solid picture of what school is going to look like for our kids next month. Whether we agree with our state or school district decisions or not, I would guess that for most of us, this image is not exactly sparking joy. Let’s take some time to self-reflect first and understand how we feel about it and then talk to our kids about what to expect.
How to talk about it
- 1. In the words of Brené Brown, clear is kind. Don’t give false hopes or confusing explanations. Put things in terms that they can understand and visualize.
- 2. Validate how they feel but don’t dwell on the negative. Also, check your stress at the door. The school situation may be putting us in a very difficult financial or emotional situation but it’s not fair to make our kids feel guilt or worry.
- 3. Be positive but don’t oversell it. Resisting the urge to run in to persuade how incredibly amazing everything is going to be, is personally, one of my biggest parental challenges. And who knows? Maybe this will be the most amazing thing ever. But let them come to that conclusion. We don’t give kids enough credit. Just level with them.
Keeping up their spirits
- 1. Instill a sense of empowerment in your kiddo as they do their part to slow the spread by being safe and thoughtful to others. How they perceive mask wearing and physical distancing is really how it’s being portrayed to them.
- 2. Investigate which activities and situations are safe and try to participate in them. So many local businesses for kids have adapted by creating small group activities in person or virtually. If your child is shy, maybe doing something over the computer might serve as a perfect opportunity to try something different.
- 3. Keep a flexible routine. Don’t worry about color coded charts with pretty fonts. But do make sure your child knows what to expect each day and has some degree of control over these events.
- 4. Don’t forget kids are incredibly resilient. I’m sure we can all think of examples of when we have underestimated our kids in the past. This is an opportunity (that nobody wanted) for our kids to understand obstacles can be opportunities if we treat them as such. This skill will benefit them for life.