Many schools are scheduled to re-open next month and parents have mixed emotions. We are torn between the social emotional well-being of our children, those children who are not living in ideal situations, those schools who lack adequate funding to facilitate a robust e-learning platform, instructors who have pre-existing medical conditions, the well-being of our homes, and the list can literally go on and on.
But looking to the future, now is the time to create a plan for the potential fate of in school instruction, e-learning or a hybrid of both. It's time to consider what will make us most comfortable, safe and successful.
While I don’t have the answers myself, there are some things we all can consider in the meantime as we await decisions and plans to be rolled out from school districts in our area.
It's Takes A Village - Call up trusted family members and or friends and consider how you can lean on one another for emotional support, supplies, childcare, e-learning, car pooling etc. Teaming up with an additional family should be paired with a check and balance of questions for comfort during this time.
How often are you engaged in group activities?
How often are you leaving the house?
How many hours in a day can we swap children?
Can you commit to being honest about your activity in an effort to keep families safe. Etc.
Data Driven Results - Consider how e-learning was handled for your household last school year and determine what you need for yourself and or children to make an e-learning situation more successful. This can include pulling on another parent to assist with certain subjects, educational supplies or additional craft supplies and supplemental materials.
Scheduling That Works - Now that we have had a sneak peek into how our children learn and what e-learning looks like, this is an opportunity to consider a schedule that works for our home. Contact your child's teacher or the school district and ask what the options are. Share your work schedule with them and let them know your concerns.
Stock Up - I know the thought probably annoys you. However, the school year is a busy time with homework. To limit the store runs and exposure (especially if you are teaming up with another family) now is the time to purchase household items, school supplies, supplemental materials etc.
Consider Your Mental Health - For many parents their mental health was tested during school closures. With the stress of the pandemic, race pandemic, children's zoom calls and work calls, many felt like a fish out of water. Heading into this school year, don't overwork yourself because you know what you need. Begin to reach out to family and friends now, for a standing time slot dedicated for a mental health break. It's time we begin to be ahead in the game in order to prevent mental breakdowns (as much as possible because we sometimes know things happen).
Check In On Your Child(ren) Mental Health - Although kids are resilient and adapt to situations easily, we would be remiss to not ask them how they are feeling. While they may not appear to be sad or have any feelings of anxiousness, it's a good practice to check in with them and their feelings.
Breathe - Enter the school year with positivity. This can look like meditation, exercise etc. Just remember to breathe.
Without a shadow of doubt this is a painstaking time in history and parenting. But we are definitely stronger together and are doing the best we can. Start to round up your village.