Apprehension replaces anticipation for many parents

How children can return to school safely is now probably the most popular topic among parents and school authorities, as the battle and politics of Covid-19 rages on. Going back to school used to be full of talks about trendy backpacks or the latest tech gadgets but the conversation has now shifted from shopping to safety.

Back to school safety checklist 

Here are our practical guide for parents on how to get their children back to school safely:

1. Honest conversations and advance prep

Back to school safety

Tracey Bourne-Guiteau, a teacher, educationist, and parent advised:

“Have an open and honest age-appropriate conversation with your children  and discuss how they are feeling about returning to the classroom.”

Preparing your child means talking to them weeks in advance. Set aside time to have good chats and coach them along. Two weeks before school, ask them “Are you excited? Do you feel ready? Do you have any questions?” Avoid leading them toward anxious responses. Don’t ask, “Are you anxious?”

“Providing an enabling environment for your child to voice concerns may help with fears and anxiety.  Sometimes the anxiety is greater than the real disease,” said Tracey.

2. Roleplay and face mask routines

Back to school safety

The week before school starts, you can do a role-play or drive-by. On the drive or bus ride or walk, ask your child, “Remember we are going to go by here tomorrow. Anything you’re excited about or want to know

You should also practice the wearing of a face mask for extended hours since most schools will require it. You can have your children wear their masks for long periods at home, starting one week before going back to school.

3. Healthy living maintenance: 

Be sure to provide your child with healthy habits/routines to ensure that the transition is fairly smooth. “Getting the proper amount of sleep, exercise, and healthy meals are keys to success,” added Tracey

4. Proactively watch your children’s health 

It is important for your children to be up-to-date on all their routine health checks, vaccines, and other preventive health measures.

Remember, there’s more to health than Covid and its jitters.

5. Back to school smarter shopping 

With some uncertainty still in the air, parents should also show more flexibility- even in shopping.

This year, you are not just buying backpacks, lunch boxes and, and notebooks, and things like that. You have to now get desks, office chairs, table lamps and of course hand sanitizer and masks.

6. Don’t forget the special moments 

These are new times and the pandemic has changed many things for both parents and kids.

However, do not forget your special moments. Think about the things that you’ve enjoyed with your child. Is it sitting down for lunch? Walking the dog? Enjoying an ice cream together? Friday night pizza and movie night? As they warm up to go back to school and even during school, set aside time for those special moments to happen.

Your children need the connection. And so do you.

7. Keep reinforcing the basics.

Back to school safely

Keep reminding your children about the everyday precautions they need to take at this time.

You have probably caught your kids standing way too close to other people, leaving their masks in the car or at home or in the bus, and forgetting to wash their hands after touching common surfaces.

Post fun signages around the house to remind your children to keep practicing those basics. Those little things still count.

Why safe, in-person school is so important 

Schools provide more than just academics to children. In addition to reading, writing, and math, students learn social and emotional skills, get exercise, and have access to mental health and other support services.  For many families, especially low-income immigrant families, schools are where kids get healthy meals, access to reliable internet, and other vital services.

Families, schools, and communities can work together to help ensure children go back to school safely

References:

Anxiety Canada

Canada Health

PBS

Houston Methodist

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