Advice from a Dad: How to deal with kids going back to school during a pandemic

Normally I would link an article and give a quote then pontificate about the theory espoused in said article. We aren’t going to do that today. Today I am reaching into my parenting tool box to give you one sure fire way to navigate the pending education issue in the fall that most families are going to have to deal with due to the pandemic. It’s actually a very simple technique, one you have heard of over and over again. That said many of us get exhausted from trying this, we get lax and we settle into an uncomfortable acceptance.

The “simple technique”? Talk to your kids. I know you have heard it before but do you actually do it? When my kids were little (they are now college age) I talked to them but not as directly as I think I should have. You see as a parent one of our primary jobs is to help our kids navigate hard times, to soften the blow of reality if you will. Well reality is pounding on your door with a pandemic raging, civil unrest, and a pending Presidential election that will probably be the most vitriolic we’ve had in a long time.

“What do I say?” I know that’s the hardest thing to get started. The first thing I would recommend doing is ask your child directly “Do you feel comfortable going back to school in the fall?” No matter what their answer is, follow up with a “why?” Let them have the chance to explain why they feel the way they do. Let them have the adult conversation. I know there are some of you out there who are aghast at the notion your 7 year old daughter/son has to deal with this let alone answer these adult questions.

Whom would you prefer they ask? It’s everywhere, and they hear it. If it’s the TV in the back ground, your cell phone conversation, news blips online they see, they know what’s going on. The thing about going back to school is, they are the ones who actually have to go and do it. The adults make the decision and the kids have to execute the mandate. Involve your kids in reasonable discourse. Example: I wouldn’t say bring your kid to a protest at the town hall but when the school committee meeting is on your local cable access and they are discussing it, have the child watch.

An engaged and educated child is critical today. I know, it’s an adult issue and it sucks they have to deal with it. It’s far more important that they engage this issue with you first and learn what they can about it through your guidance prior to being thrust into a situation where they will be confused. Let’s assume school DOES happen in the fall, what does it look like? Segregated seating, masks, some teachers out? Not to mention, what narrative are they going to get from said teachers?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. Your kids are going to be on the front lines of a huge social and political issue in a month. It’s a lot of pressure for them and they need your guidance. You are a great parent, give them the benefit of the doubt and let them grow up a little here and engage them on this issue NOW.

I know, I wish things were normal. Soccer on Saturday mornings, a winter play/concert in the school auditorium. It’s not going to happen anytime soon and as a parent with older kids who got all that unfettered you have my empathy. Talk to your kids, find out if they are okay, find out what they think and they will be better prepared for whatever happens in our schools this fall.

You are doing awesome, one day at a time.

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4 thoughts on “Advice from a Dad: How to deal with kids going back to school during a pandemic

  1. Wonderful parenting advice. We often do our children a disservice by not talking to them directly and explaining why we are doing something – even from a very young age. Thank you for sharing your wisdom

  2. Thanks for compliment. I think in 2020 its probably better to talk to your kids more directly then ever before. They are being blasted with info everywhere, why not be one of the sources? Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog. I really appreciate it.

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