Back to school in 2021 is challenging parents far beyond new outfits and school supplies.
Keep Calm and Carry On – choosing your child to school in a global pandemic is a decision not made lightly, and every family must make the choice that’s right for them. Whether you choose in person or online virtual learning from home, trust yourself, and once you make that choice roll with it. Young children do not know that these are not ‘normal’ times, this is their normal, so if it’s not a big deal to you, it won’t be to them either. Brave parents make brave kids.
Attitude – Back to School, especially for little ones, should be exciting and anticipated. My son is so happy to be going into grade one, can’t wait to see his friends from kindergarten and has his fingers crossed for a favourite teacher. All the discussion in our home that is within his earshot reinforces this, and we have kept up connection with his friends over the summer with parties and playdates so that he can pick up right where he left off socially. We focus on the fun, new experiences, and new skills that he is going to learn, it’s an exciting time.
Jimmy is aware of Covid, but we do not watch the news, so he is unaware of the concerns for kids and teachers going back to school, and of the rising daily case counts. There is no need for him (or anyone) to worry about what he can’t control.
Hygiene – although always important, now more so than ever. We count to 20 or sing a song when washing our hands (I learned that I hadn’t been rubbing that soap in long enough!) use our sneeze pockets (elbows) when we sneeze of cough and always have the hand sanitizer handy, although I really try to minimize using it, hand washing is best! School prep includes ‘backpack buddy’ sanitizers, and a small tube of moisturizer because we learned last year, chapped hands hurt. Jimmy also has Chapstick in his lunch kit, because ‘sometimes the oranges hurt my lips’.
Cool masks – I got tired of cloth masks that shrink, and, if they don’t get lost, look pretty gross by the end of the day. I bought a box of kid size disposables that have fun designs and colours. Jimmy likes to choose the mask of the day, and its easy to slip a couple extra into his backpack. Kids in Grade 1 are not required to wear masks, and many of his classmates don’t and I am sure his doesn’t stay on all day. When he tells me “I don’t have to wear a mask.” I agree and remind him that it’s not about having to do something, it’s if you are able to do something that can make a difference, you should do it.
Oh, and that super cute, Instagram worthy new outfit for the first day of school? That idea went out the window in our house, Jimmy got a tie dye shirt and hat on his summer vacation and declared that is what he is wearing on the first day of school. Fine by me, I have bigger things to worry about that a son who wants to be his psychedelic rainbow clad self.