2020 Back to School is one for the record books. As a mom, I am struggling with what is best for my kid's healthy, sanity, education and even community. Do I send them to school because that's what they need socially and for the best education? What does that mean for our vulnerable friends and family? What if they can't handle online school? We didn't do so well with that in the Spring!
I can't help you make the decision on what to do for your back to school but I did come up with some tips and hints to maybe make whatever you choose a little more fun and healthy.
Five tips for back to school 2020
1. Apply sunscreen.
Did you know that our computer screens emit UV light that can damage the skin? I didn't. So whether your child is sitting in front of the computer or spending lots of time outside at school or home, sunscreen is key. My personal favorite sunscreens are those from Neutrogena. I love the non-greasy lotions here. My teens like something a little fancier and we have become addicted to Sun Bum this summer. It smells so good that reminds us of summer fun even when diligently plugging away at school.
2. Embrace the face mask. Set a mask-up start date before school starts.
I've been talking with lots of friends who have been back to work in settings that require all day face masks and there is good news. Almost all of them have told me that it only takes 3 days to get used to the mask. With that in mind, set up a date to work with your child to pick out a mask (or 5) that they think look cool. Here's a link to some cool ones on Etsy. Be excited with them when "their" masks arrive. Try them on, take pics and vote on the favorite mask. Then have them wear the mask at home during the day for at least 3 days before school starts. It won't be perfect but the sooner they get used to it, the easier it will be on all.
3. Record the first day.
Every year you take that first day of school pic. Do it again this year, even if school is at the kitchen table with a laptop. Keep the photo real. Have them pose with the laptop or sitting at the table with their schools supplies laid out and ready to go. If you opt for in person education, be sure to get that photo with the masks on! Let's all hope that this is last time we have to take that picture.
4. Keep them active
Sports might not happen. Recess might not happen and its easy to forget to plan for activity when trying to educate at home. Obesity in children in the USA is on the rise and to combat that a key component is to be active. If you are educating at home, take time to walk outside. Pick a subject that can be brought outdoors and walk with it. Science? Observe birds and their habitats. What kind of birds are they? Where do they nest? If it's math, practice math facts while walking. Spelling? Pick things on the walk to spell out. If your child is in school, encourage them to spend at least 20-30 minutes playing outside before dinner. A ball is an easy toy to keep them challenged. Here's a link to some fun
5. Talk about it
This year will be different. Remember for a lot of kids change means stress and anxiety. The transition from social distancing to in person classroom time with new rules and expectations will be jarring for all of us. Remember that the key to working through this time is to talk. Ask you kids what feels different this year. Talk about the sadness of missing friends not at school. Are they afraid of COVID? You won't know unless you ask. The Mayo Clinic wrote this great article about how to talk with your kids about COVID. You can check it out here.
It definitely won't be the same as last year but we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself and remember that this is all new for you, the teachers, the kids and well, everyone.