With a new school year just around the corner, children, parents, and teachers alike are wondering what this new normal will look like for them. The COVID-19 variants are adding to the confusion and uncertainty leaving many of us wondering, “What does this look like for children going back to school?” Here are some great reminders that I recommend sharing with your children before they leave for the classroom and when they come home from the school day!
Wear Your Mask
Talk with your children about the importance of wearing a mask, even when it’s hard to do so! As adults, it can be difficult to remember to wear our masks (even more than a year into the pandemic). It’s important to model good behavior for our children so that they can set good examples, especially in the classroom! Make sure to talk with your kids about wearing a mask properly while in school so that they can protect themselves and their fellow classmates.
Disinfecting – Make It Fun!
At Cummins, we believe that disinfecting has been, and continues to be, a vital component of managing the pandemic. For children, this added effort needs to be fun! Try finding hand sanitizer and wipes that have fun patterns, scents, and packaging. Personally, I would be much more excited to use hand sanitizer if it smelled like a day on the beach, can you relate? Make sure that you are also helping your child disinfect their lunch boxes and supplies when they come home from school. This will prevent any germs from making it further into your home.
Do Check-ins Often
I don’t know about you, but I would be thrilled to see my friends after as much as a year apart! Your child is excited to be back in the classroom where they can play and chat with their classmates. Odds are, they aren’t thinking about disinfecting or the new COVID-19 variants as much as they are about catching up with friends. With this in mind, here is a quick list to go over with your child before their first day of classes:
- Encourage children to not share things such as pencils, lunch, or other school supplies. Instead, maybe pack a pencil box specifically for giving away. This way, your child can still “share” without risking their health.
- Send your child to school with a scented, themed or sparkly hand sanitizer. This makes disinfecting their hands more fun – and will encourage them to give some to their friends, too!
- Remind them of the importance of continuing good hygiene. While schools are working hard to make the environment as safe as possible, it’s vital that we do our part and continue to practice good hygiene.
- Create a safe space for them where they don’t feel scared to share their feelings. If they’re feeling unsure about how to handle a situation, or they catch a clip on the news that makes them feel scared, let them know you are available to help problem solve together.
If you’re among the many parents sending children back to school this year, I wish you and your family a successful, safe year. It is certainly a challenging time for parents and children alike, but by maintaining open communication, empowering our young people with tips to stay safe, and supporting them in their various comfort levels, we can all help our kids have a happy, healthy school year ahead.