Preparing Kids to Go Back to School
The road to freedom –here and everywhere on earth-– begins in the classroom.-Hubert Humphrey
With the Covid cases on the decline, many schools have slowly started reopening physical classes across the country. With children undergoing the stress of online classes and not meeting and playing with their classmates, it is understandable that they are excited about their schools reopening.
However, most kids are thinking of pre-covid schools and interactions when they are thinking about schools. Our responsibility as parents is to help them prepare for what is in store and the behavior they are expected to exhibit. It is also our responsibility to keep them healthy and fit as they go back into a world that is less protected than our homes.
Here are a few things which you should do:
1. Follow social distancing norms
This is a no-brainer. We have to repeatedly tell the children the importance of continuing social distancing protocols. School life, for some time, may not be the same as it was in the pre-covid days. Sharing of tiffins should be discouraged. Since the children will not be sitting close together, there will not be friendly banter between classes. It is crucial to prepare the kids for this beforehand so they are not disillusioned and dejected when they start going to school.
2. Practice Respiratory Etiquette
While these have always been important, they are even more significant now. Children must be taught to cover their mouth and noses when coughing and sneezing. They must wash their hands frequently, especially after coughing or blowing their nose and before and after eating. Be a role model and provide positive reinforcement to make it a habit.
This is the most important thing we should do as parents – build our child’s immunity by giving them healthy food.
As mentioned in the above article on building immunity, give your child Vitamin C and D, turmeric with milk, ensure that they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and get adequate sleep and exercise. These are even more important now than ever, as they will step out of the protected environment where they have been staying for over a year now.
4. Know When to Keep Your Child at Home
Do not send the child to school if there is any sign of fever or severe cough and cold. Needless to say, if anyone in the family has tested positive for covid or has come in contact with someone who has tested positive, the child should also stay at home for the prescribed number of days.
5. Deal with Learning Gaps
There might be learning gaps because of online classes. The gaps could be different for each child. While the teachers at school will be assessing the children and giving them adequate support, we as a parent also need to help and support our children to bring them up to speed so that it is not very stressful for them.
The reopening of schools will definitely have a positive impact on the mental health of children as also their learning. However, Covid is still there, and if we want that schools continue to function and life goes back to a semblance of normal, we must continue to take precautions and teach the same to our children.
I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy- I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.-Art Williams