Is it safe to send my child back to school?
As lockdown restrictions ease and life slowly gets back to normal, many parents are facing the challenging decision of sending their children back to school.
Right now, you might be torn between wanting to keep your children safe at home with you, but also fearing for their educational future.
While it’s normal and understandable to be fearful, it’s important not to instil any of that anxiety into children. These are trying times for everyone, including children, and it’s important to make them feel confident and comfortable about the decision you make together.
If you’re a parent feeling anxious over this decision, you should know that you’re not alone. Many parents are facing similar worries, and they feel as unsure as you do.
To ease some of your worries, here are some pieces of advice on how you can parent from a place of love during these trying times:
Identify your worries and concerns
It’s important for you to know exactly what it is that is making you anxious and fearful. While you might think you have all the answers in your mind, diving deeper could help you create a plan on how you can deal with your concerns one by one.
This will vary from parent to parent, and on your children too. Parents with special needs children, for example, will have a different set of worries than others. It’s important to be clear on your unique concerns.
I suggest writing your anxious thoughts down on paper and discussing them with your partner and friends. This will ease your anxiety and could offer you some clarity on what you can do, based on suggestions your loved ones will give.
For example, if you’re worried your child won’t wash their hands in school as advised by doctors, instead of panicking (understandably) over the thought, you can talk to your kids and remind them every day why it’s important to wash their hands in school.
You can lead by example by washing your hands a few times a day in front of them too, and create a routine they can implement in school. If it helps, you could ask the teachers to remind them too.
It’s a good idea to discuss your worries with your children, so they understand your concerns. This will encourage them to obey the rules and regulations, as they’ll see where you’re coming from.
When you speak to your kids, remember to take a gentle approach, the aim is to make them understand how you feel, not to overwhelm them with fear.
Allow your children’s thoughts to influence your decision
It’s important to talk to your children about sending them back to school. Ask them how they feel about the idea, and if they think it’s the right decision for them.
Children are intuitive and while you’re the parent and might know better, it’s important to listen to their thoughts on this too.
If you’ve decided to send your children back to school, discuss their worries and concerns. Remind them what to expect from the changes that will happen. Reassure them that things will be okay and that they’ll be safe, as long as they listen to the rules.
If you’re choosing to homeschool your children, again, it’s important to discuss this with them. Ask them how they feel about your decision.
Have you noticed that they’ve benefited from being educated at home?
Or is school a better environment for them?
Do they like the idea of home education?
Every child is unique and since you know your children best, weigh the pros and cons of home education and school, then decide what is better based on your child for now.
Remember that you’re not alone, and you can speak to other parents about this decision too. If you’re sending your children to school, you can speak to their teachers to get more advice and reassurance.
Be aware of COVID-19 updates
This isn’t to overwhelm you, but for you to be aware of the changes and updates.
Doctors and scientists are studying this virus and don’t have all the answers because it’s new. At the beginning of the pandemic, for example, we were told not to wear masks. Now we know it’s important to wear them and our children should wear them in schools.
They’re informing us about what they learn, so it’s important to be up to date with their advice and the regulations.
Knowing this information helps to protect ourselves and our children more.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at scary statistics on social media and the news, but make sure you’re more or less aware of what’s happening and what you need to know now, so you can teach and inform your children too.
Be confident about the decision you make, don’t be hard on yourself
Whichever choice you make (sending your children back to school or keeping them at home) remember that your decision is coming from a place of love and care, so don’t be hard on yourself.
If you’re sending your children back to school, it’s because you think this is what’s best for them. They will be with their friends, their teachers, and you won’t have to worry so much about their education.
If you’re choosing to homeschool your kids, it’s because you want to keep them safe, they might seem happier at home, you’ve listened to what they want, and they’re not being academically affected.
Some people might be quick to judge, but you’re trying your best with what you have. These are unprecedented times, and you’re learning as you go just like everybody else. So have confidence about the decision you make, as long as both you and your children are okay with it, that is what matters.
Like many parents, you might be feeling alone and misunderstood in your worries and concerns. Having someone by your side to help you manage your anxieties during these trying times could be what you need.
If you’re looking for some personal guidance on how you can manage your worries and navigate your life during these trying times, you can check out my coaching services http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/single-parenting/
Our lives are taking a new direction, and we’re not sure what will happen in the future. It’s normal to feel anxious, and it’s okay to get help.