When all things went on lockdown in March this year we, as parents, had an immensely difficult situation to explain to our children. Now, on the eve of the new school year, we are again faced with a seemingly impossible conversation. How are you talking to your children about this upcoming school year - whether your children are participating in in-person or virtual instruction? How can we make the transition to this 'new normal' easier for our children?
Most parents will agree that although this time is beyond anything we could imagine, our children are so much stronger and more resilient than we realize. We asked some of our Momleta Members what the start of this school year has looked like and what conversations they are having with their little ones about all things COVID-19.
Here's what they have to say - raw and real:
"When 3 year old L says, 'when the birus is gone, can we invite so and so to play?' my heart clenches a bit. My children understand mask wearing and hand washing. They wear masks while inside at daycare. As for school, S will have a remote start to first grade and I know the school is sending out videos with directions and communication regarding school mask wearing policies, how to drink water, walk in the hallways, enter a classroom etc." - Sarah W-J
"We call it "the virus" which I kinda hate now. It sounds like all those gloomy apocalyptic future movies. B is better at wearing masks than most adults I know. She is going to a private preschool and so far the kids don't have to wear masks - just the teachers. We have already had to get COVID-19 tests once for daycare because of a cold going around. It was not fun to hold down a 4 year old while they jammed a stick up her nose. I think if we have to do it again it will be worse because she knows what's about to happen." - Erika V.
"E calls COVID 'the virus' and fully understands we can’t go anywhere without wearing a mask. But the few times we’ve been to the playground she is not keeping her distance from kids we don’t know. So I’m constantly having to remind her to keep space. But yeah, she knows there’s a lot we can’t do or we have to do different because of 'the virus'." - Kate C.
"My boys understand the importance of wearing a mask. They’re able to keep their masks off for the entire lunch period in the cafeteria - with individual seating. They also get a 3 minute mask break every hour inside the classroom. My kids do follow rules well so I only need to tell them this is necessary and if everyone follows the rules we will hopefully see the restrictions ease up in a month or two. We are lucky to have 5 day in-person instruction and I know our school works very hard to keep the kids safe as much as possible." - Jenny C.
"My kids have done pretty well with all things COVID related so far. I think the masks are easy for them and I have to remind them to take them OFF when we are in the car or outside without others around. But today H said her teacher couldn’t understand her because of her mask and that made me a little sad. She said she hated her mask. She’s already super shy and if she isn’t heard or if people can’t see her face to judge what’s going on with her I fear she may withdraw even more. I told her to talk extra loud so that the teacher can hear her."
We’ve had 2 days of in person classes so far and they will go in person 5 days a week. They all seemed really happy with school and in great moods when I picked them up. It’s been great getting on a schedule again. W (8) is sad his best friend isn’t coming back to school this year as his family chose to do traditional homeschooling. We hope he comes back next year but he’s pretty sad about missing his friend. P (4) always says, 'when corona virus is over can we...' and he’ll talk about all the things he misses like going to Chuck E Cheese or other fun places like that. But he’s pretty nonchalant about it. They know we have to wash hands and use hand sanitizer in the car a lot and I have to remind them not to touch everything when we go out. They seem tired of it but also they’re kids and resilient. I think we as adults are having a harder time with everything. I imagine it’s also harder for older kids used to doing more activities and sports and for teens for sure." - Katie G.
There are so many great tips out there on how to explain COVID-19 related restrictions to our children. We found this article in Family Education to be very useful.
How are you talking to your children?