Life after Lockdown Part 2: How to send your kids back to school
Rather than panic about the day when your kids return to school, focus your energy into actionable points that may ease your mind.
We’re in the third week of the lockdown in India, and while many of us have settled into a makeshift routine and found some calm within the chaos, other’s haven’t been so fortunate and can’t wait for schools and offices to open up again. After the lockdown is lifted, whether it is at the end of 21 days or longer, we may resume our daily activities but life will still be far from normal.
If you have children, you know that while becoming a teacher for your children was hard, letting them back into the world, where you can’t control everything, will be harder. Research shows that COVID-19 is less likely to make children severely ill compared with adults. So, rather than panic about the day when your kids return to school, focus your energy into actionable points that may ease your mind. There are two aspects of the situation to address - one is the school and the other is your child.
You can ask the school management if they’re making some changes at this time. And if not, here are some changes you could suggest to them yourself:
1. No time in the playground
Ask if they’ll be restricting activities like games, contact sports, assemblies and competitions. Non-essential gatherings can and should be restricted until the virus is completely eradicated or there is a vaccine made available.
2. Different timing for different grades
A slight change in the timings of different grades can make it easier to avoid overcrowding around the entry and exit points at the beginning and end of the day. Even a 15-minutes difference would allow students to not be exposed to too many other people. Similarly, lunch or break times can be staggered for different grades so they can easily avoid contact.
3. Smaller and constant classes
If the class size is generally big, you can inquire if will be made smaller given the situation. A distance of at least 1 meter must be maintained between students which means desks need to arranged that way as well. The school should also ensure that there are minimum or no breaks to avoid too much mingling during this time.
4. Hygiene facilities
Hand soap, clean water and tissue papers should be available in the school bathrooms. Also, ensure that the school is disinfecting the entire area before opening up again. To be on the safe side, ask your child to carry their own soap, a small pack of tissues and maybe even sanitizing wipes.
Here are a few conversations to have with your child that could help ease your worry as well as their anxiety:
1. Hygiene practices
Assure them that if they practise good hygiene, they will be safe. Go over all the times they should wash their hands - before and after eating, after going to the toilet, if they touch shared surfaces such as the railing and door handles. Even if they’re excited to see their friends, they should avoid physical contact with them for now. Ask them to wear a face cover if they travel by bus or anytime they’re around a lot of people. Carefully go over the steps of how to wear a face cover correctly and make them show you how to do it at home.
2. Social distancing
We all remember what it’s like to be in school. We can expect some “cool” kids to disregard the necessary measures when they aren’t being watched. Your child should know not to be influenced by such behaviour and still maintain social distance and hygiene - whether others are doing it or not. Tell them not to share anything - have water from their own bottle and lunch from their own box or plate.
3. Ask them to share their feelings
All of this may be a lot to take in and it even might scare them a little bit. Ask them how they are feeling and have them ask you as many questions as they like. Answer them to the best of your ability and if there is something you don’t know, be honest about that as well. It’s normal to be a little anxious but if they seem to be too affected and you’re not being able to help them manage it, try getting them to talk to a counsellor or child therapist.
For more information, read our article on COVID-19 prevention and care tips for parents with young children.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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