Back-To-School Decisions: Listening to My Kids
My kids’ school did an amazing job preparing for this school year. They held numerous meetings making sure everyone felt comfortable with the safety regulations being put in place to combat the spreading of COVID in the classroom. They also made virtual learning available for those who felt more comfortable having their kids learn from home.
Originally, I thought it was a no-brainer. I didn’t want to have my kids worry about wearing a mask all day, distracted from their learning. I also thought it would take some burden off the teachers if they didn’t have to worry about my kids following all the COVID safety rules in the classroom. My immediate thought was – I’m going to keep my kids home to learn virtually, at least through the holidays. And that’s what I did.
Well, let me tell you what happened. About three hours into distance learning my kids were begging me to go back to school. They missed their friends, and just wanted to be in the classroom with everyone.
In no way do I intend to tell other parents what to do. Each family has their own decisions to make as to what works best for them. I am merely telling this story to show that sometimes (a lot of times) we mess up as parents. Sometimes what we think is the best decision for our kids doesn’t turn out to be what they need. And it’s okay to admit that we made a mistake, and to move forward in the best way possible.
Things to Take Away
1. Do what works for YOUR family
Especially as a mother, it can be so difficult to not compare yourself and your family to others. The conversations in our heads start to sound a lot like this:
The Smiths pulled their kids out of school to homeschool. I can’t manage that with the business. But they’re managing, so should I try it? The Johnsons sent their kids full time in-person. I think I want to keep the kids enrolled but virtual. Is that okay?
Yes! It is more than okay! We’re all doing what we can right now to keep our kids happy and ourselves sane. Whatever works for your family is the “right” thing to do. Just because a certain approach works for a different family doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about doing something else.
2. Listen to your kids!
I’m not saying let your kids do whatever they want. What I am saying is that sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes – our kids truly know what’s best for themselves. Now, when they want an ice cream sundae for breakfast, I don’t listen to that. But when it came to making the decision to go back to school in-person or do virtual learning, my kids knew they wanted to see their friends and be back in the classroom. I thought I was doing what was best for them by keeping them home. I told them – “trust me, you won’t want to be wearing that mask the whole day. This is better.” It backfired. And it was important for me to be able to listen to the kids and adjust to their needs accordingly.
3. Don’t be afraid to adjust.
Change is scary, but it’s important to realize that decisions aren’t permanent. And just because one approach made sense in the beginning doesn’t mean it will work forever. I have found that to be true in a lot of areas of my life, but especially parenting. As my kids grow and learn, I grow and learn as a parent. Certain aspects of my parenting have been consistent since my kids’ diaper days, and other aspects have changed ten times over. And that’s okay!