Health & Well-Being: Blogging Through COVID Together — Preparing your Child

May 29, 2020

Here we go again! The world is slowly and carefully opening up, and so are our schools. Many of our students will continue remote learning next week, but some of your children are coming back into school buildings and will begin a blended model of learning for the month of June. We are excited to have them back!

Your school will have sent home all of the information about what that will look like so I will not repeat all the details here, but I did want to support you in talking with your children about what the experience may look and feel like next week. I have to start by acknowledging that you are the expert on your own child and what is best for them, so please read these ideas with that in mind and remember that all of these ideas are for you to consider and adapt to what your child needs.

Share information

It will be important for children to have an idea about what to expect on the first day. Let them know the things that will look different in this new way of being. Things like signing in at the front of the building and where you will drop them off and pick them up. Keep the explanations as simple and as clear as possible and remind them that the adults will be there to support and walk them through all of this.

We are all learning together

We want to remind the students that things may look different, but it is the same school community that will be there to support them. Classes will not look the same as they did before, so your child needs to know they may be with different teachers or classmates but that there will be a safe and caring community of people who are there to support them and their learning. This is a perfect time to talk about flexibility and how this will be new for everyone, but that we will figure it out together.

Listen to what is going on for them 

Create time and space to listen to their questions and let them talk about how they are feeling. They may be excited or nervous or wildly curious about things. You don’t have to know the answers, you can just be curious with them. You can remind them that new things sometimes bring up a lot of different feelings, and you can have more than one at the same time. The important thing for them to know is they are all normal things to feel in new situations and that others will probably be feeling these things too. Remind them of other times when they (or you) have done something new for the first time. If you haven’t seen this Ted talk on the upside of stress I would highly recommend it for you and/or your older children Make Stress Your Friend. 

Model Calm

In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “Be calm, be kind, and be safe”. In this crazy time of COVID-19 we have seen so many examples of how our community has rallied around and supported each other. We need to keep doing this and giving each other the grace to be imperfect as we move into this next stage. Just like it is a good idea to let children talk about how they are feeling, it is important for us to be aware of our feelings during this time of change as well. We know from the science that stress in contagious, but the good news is that calm is too. We have the opportunity here to model the skills of resilience that we want our children to learn.

So, take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back for getting through this first part of parenting through COVID (you really have been amazing) and get ready because here we go again. It is going to be different, but it also going to be an opportunity for creativity, growth and cooperation. So, whether your children are continuing at home learning or starting the blended model in schools they will all be learning, and they will be doing it in a place where they are safe and cared about. We will continue this crazy, imperfect, COVID learning journey practicing care, kindness, and resilience together. We’ve got this!