This summer has been particularly difficult for parents as we had to navigate the “new normal”, all with the uncertainty of what the school year ahead would look like. Schools all over the country have begun reopening in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. Still if you’re anything like me, stress and anxiety are accompanying. (Check out this post on how to calm your anxiety and get some sleep!) Do we go back in building? Stay home? Hybrid learning? Distance learning? Homeschool? DOES ANYTHING MAKE SENSE? Nonetheless, how to handle school reopening is the parents’ decision. And ultimately, you have to be able to make some sort of peace with that decision. Here’s a few suggestions on how to do just that.
Accept that there is uncertainty.
For me, this is the most important step. Here in NYC, in the beginning of August, we have yet to receive a solid reopening plan for school. Tons of proposed plans, nothing concrete. There is uncertainty revolving pretty much everything nowadays. The uncertainty around the school situation is something we have to EXPECT.
Feel the feelings.
Whatever you’re feeling, feel it! Don’t try to push your emotions to the side. Take however long you need to process your decision and the changes that come with it. You are allowed to feel.
Because at this point, 2020’s motto is literally… anything can happen. Distance learning could change. Hybrid learning can change. The school could literally open and close the same day (like that Indiana school that had to quarantine within hours after opening on the first day). In this situation (unless you’re 100% homeschooling) we aren’t really at the mercy of our own decisions. We have to be flexible and trust the school districts, no matter how difficult that may seem.
Give yourself grace.
Our children are so much better with dealing out grace than we are. This is not the time for mom (or dad) guilt. You are doing your 100% best within this circumstance. Give yourself grace. You are human.
Know When to Ask for Help
While I stand by my original statement that however school reopening is handled is the parents’ decision, sometimes you need help. This could be talking it through with your partner, enlisting the help of a nanny/babysitter to help with distance learning or seeking a professional to talk through your stress with. Knowing when to ask for help is extremely important.