Marlowe and Major start school in about a week!
I talked about it all in my Newsletter a couple of weeks ago (a reminder to sign up if you want all the news first), but I’ve made the decision to send both my older kids back to school. For me, it was an easy decision. My kids both really struggled emotionally being away from a structured environment with other kids, and the state of Connecticut has been doing a great job at keeping our COVID-19 numbers down and have outlined some great safety measures for our schools.
Both my kids know that this year will look and feel much different than it did last year, and that there will be some minor inconveniences that everyone will face in order to keep all the families safe. They both agreed that going to school was something that they still REALLY wanted to do, despite these changes. I feel confident that this choice is what’s best for my family!
That said, this year is obviously shaping up to be a logistical and emotional challenge for any family.
Even though our schools are open in Westport, the hours and schedule are different, and operate on a rotating basis. I feel like I need a separate digital calendar with bells and whistles just to remind me when my kid is supposed to be in school on any given day of the week. I’ve also had to switch my work hours around to accommodate the pick up and drop off schedules. I’m lucky because I am self-employed, work from home, and have a flexible schedule (and help!) — but I can’t image what this must be like for the families with both parents working outside of the home without flexibility and no access to childcare. Not to mention the sole income Single Mom households.
There are many families who just won’t be able to swing it this year, and that’s REAL.
Another truth is that nobody knows if we will be distance learning permanently eventually, or if luck will swing the other way, and our COVID numbers will stay in a good place and allow schooling to remain open. I know families who are electing to distance learn or Homeschool purely due to needing consistency and dependability in terms of the plan.
If you’re somebody like me, who doesn’t do great with “grey areas”, this all could be a little overwhelming. Being prepared always helps me feel less anxious, and strong enough to tackle what comes my way. Today I thought I would share how I’m preparing for the School Year this year, in both practical and emotional ways:
Focusing On Health For The Whole Fam
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I like to have a consistent wellness routine for me and my kids to make sure our immune systems are as strong as possible. I have a post about my own Supplement Routine, and one about my Wellness Routine For Kids. I also plan to do my Celery Juice reset in September (it isn’t a diet at all, you just start the day with celery juice) because I felt so clear and strong while I was doing it the last time. I highly recommend! More info about it in this blog post.
Talking To My Kids About Expectations While At School
At our school, students will have “half days”, children will be in cohorts (smaller groups) based on last name. They will be wearing masks all day, with some mask “breaks” worked in to the day, including at recess outside. Specials will be at home via live streaming, instead of during the school day. There will be “hand washing” times scheduled in to the day. Nobody will share school supplies.
I’ve made sure to sit down with my kids frequently and remind them all about these changes, and others, to prepare them for their new routine. I also make sure to reinforce that these measures are all a precaution that we do to make sure we can resume “normal life” as quickly as possible, and NOT because they have to fear any of their classmates. It’s simply a new routine.
I hope this will make them feel more comfortable when they resume life in a familiar environment with a different day to day experience.
Picking Out Masks We Love
I’ve gotten my kids, and myself, a variety of masks. Masking in public and at school is such a vital part of keeping transmission rates low and I’m making sure we all have masks we love!
My kids are wearing Hot Sundae masks in these photos (It’s a Mama-founded company by a dear friend of mine!) But I’m sharing some other mask options we love below as well.
I prefer ear hoop masks over the tie ones since I find they’re easier to and quicker to put on and off.
Getting Organized With A Calendar
This year is going to be EXTREMELY hectic and confusing scheduling wise.
Marlowe’s school schedule is varying by week, month, and quarter! My head is spinning even thinking about it.
Side Note: I will fully be that parent who brings my kid to school on the wrong day. Sorry in advance.
To help keep me organized, I got this calendar to put up in the kitchen. I’ve used a different color for each kid that shows when they are in school or not. We also use it to show the kids the coparenting schedule for when they will have a weekend at Dad’s house.
Large 2020-2021 Desk Calendar
Backpacks and Lunch bags!
I let my kids pick out new backpacks and lunch bags this year. Marlowe chose a Hello Kitty backpack, and Major wanted Dinosaurs. Major has the matching lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids, and with Marlowe I’m going to use Planet Box.
They also both use Contigo Water Bottles for school, with Mabel’s Labels (<–Click this link for free shipping!) to identify all their school stuff! I also have hand sanitizer in their backpacks for them to use as needed. I like this Megababe one! I buy the minis, and then a large pump one to refill.
Mackenzie Blue/Gray Glow-in-the-Dark Dinos Backpack
Pottery Barn Kids
Hello Kitty Backpack
AUTOSEAL Gizmo Sip Kids Water Bottle
Small Rectangle Labels
Click the button below for free shipping on any order!
Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer - Travel Size
Regular Temperature Checks
Part of being a responsible parent these days is being certain that we are sending healthy kids to school. Making a quick temperature check a part of our morning routine makes sure that I’m sending my kids to school in good conscience every day knowing that they don’t have a fever. I hope other families do the same!
Changing Clothes After School
This is one small step that I take to feel more comfortable with the kids back in school. I plan to keep a comfy outfit in our mud room for the kids to strip and put on upon returning home from school. Their school clothes will go right in the laundry bin and washed on hot! They will also wash their hands upon returning home from school.
Making “Down Time” Educational
Kids aren’t getting a full day of school this year, and this will have a trickle down effect. I’ve decided to fill my kids’ tablets with educational options that they actually enjoy to make sure that their time at home isn’t filled with fluff. I love the Homer App, The PBS Kids App, and TV Shows like Storybots and Planet Earth. I’ve also started to involve my kids more when I’m cooking so that we can all learn new things together!
Making Time For Family Connection
Since all of this started in our country, anxiety levels have been at an all-time-high for adults AND kids. One thing I’ve found that really helps our family is making extra time for snuggles, conversation, and imagination. My kids LOVE staying up “late” (an hour later. LOL) once a week to watch a movie with me before bed. They feel special, and we all have time to cuddle together an enjoy something together. Mom enjoys a glass of wine, too. Win win!
Self-Care For Parents
These times are definitely trying, and self care is SO important to stay balanced mentally. I’m making sure to make time for myself, even if it’s just an indulgent bath, an at home facial, or doing my nails after the kids are down. Here are some blog posts that outline some great at-home self care routines!
Photographs by Julia Dags