It’s been a crazy day back to school after Spring break and I am continuing to just ride the waves. We just received an announcement that the Elementary kids in my school district are going back to school five days a week the week of April 26th. My third grader is so excited. She is the one out of my three kids who has really wanted to go back. Max and Ella are in middle school and seem happy with the current model. That doesn’t mean that middle school changes won’t come next.
If you are the type of person who craves stability, then I am sure this has been a rough year for you. My attitude that I am trying really hard to adopt is to be flexible and to go with the flow. I have no control over what decisions my school district makes. They have continuously surprised me over the last 13 months.
They have given us the option to have our kids be full remote or full in person for Elementary school. That is what we have control over. Let us focus on what we have control over. Some teachers are even going to be switched for the children. I feel so badly for both the teachers and the students. It totally stinks but they will be okay if they have to have a new teacher. I know Lillie would be sad to have to change her teacher who she really loves.
I’m hearing that cases are rising and yet they are changing the school plan. I just can’t seem to follow it all and I don’t want to make myself crazy. I made a decision at the beginning of the school year to expect changes. I have let go of a lot of expectations that I had. I don’t expect any school events. I don’t expect any consistency with how many days a week my kids can go to school. I don’t even expect the same teachers. Max and Ella both have new science teachers. Max is actually on his third earth science teacher this year. If this year is teaching us anything it is teaching us to expect change and to learn how to ride the waves. If we resist, we will go under.
My daughter Ella is 12 years old, and I want to share with you her prediction for the school year to help prepare you mentally. Ella says that everyone will go back full time and then school will shut down and they will go back to full remote. Do I think she is being pessimistic? Absolutely. Do I think she may be right? Absolutely.
What do you have control of:
- Your attitude and perspective on a situation.
- How you treat yourself and how you treat others.
- How you communicate and express your feelings.
- Taking vitamins, eating healthy, exercise, sleep, and hand washing to promote wellness.
- Sending your kids to school or keeping them home.
- Home schooling.
- Choosing a private school or a public school for your children.
- Your friends and who you surround yourself with.
- Your honesty.
- The content you read and listen to.
- Advocating – you can’t control the result of advocating, but you can do this in many ways. Talk to your superintendent, principal, government officials. Write letters or start a petition.
- Boundaries that you set.
- Reaching out for help.
- Having multiple plans to be prepared for school changes.
- How you spend your time.
- I have control over choices that I make. I choose to send my third grader to school five days a week. I am not choosing the full remote option.
- Adapting to the inevitable changes. Especially this year.
- This is huge. We don’t know what’s next. We know what is happening today.
- Modeling good coping and problem solving skills to our children.
What don’t we have control over:
- Decisions that the government and school district make. We can advocate to influence these decisions, but we don’t have control over final decisions.
- How people treat each other.
- What people do or say.
- What people believe.
- How people react.
- What people think about you.
- Certain circumstances such as the weather.
- Exact outcomes.
After I found out that Lillie was going back to school five days a week at the end of the month, I had a conversation with her. I told her about the plan, and I told her not to get too excited. I am happy that she wants to go back. I think she needs her teacher and her peers. However, I want her to be prepared that things could change any day. I forgot to tell her that if she goes back, that doesn’t mean that it is going to stay that way. I will discuss that her with her tomorrow. I am so happy that she is excited. I hope that it happens. I am cautiously optimistic. I am an optimist. I am not a pessimist. I am not a realist. I do however know that all we can expect this year is change. We don’t know that the changes are over.
As we get announcements of schools moving to five days a week, my friend let me know that her children’s schools are currently shutting down due to the increased Covid numbers in her area. With multiple families having traveled recently for Spring break, I am expecting numbers to increase.
I encourage you to do some contingency planning. If your children are going back five days have a plan for that. Make a plan for if they go back to the hybrid plan and have a plan for if school shuts down and goes to full remote. Having multiple plans will decrease your anxiety and make you feel better prepared for whatever changes may come your way.
I know that you and your children are craving stability. I know that you don’t want any more changes. I’m so sad to tell you that we can’t control that. I have come to expect change. The constants around you may not involve school. It may not even involve your teacher. You children’s constant is you. Your children’s constant is their siblings. My kids will tell you that they have never spent so much time with their siblings as they have this year. Max told us last night that his only constant has been his parents. Moments like that warm my mama heart and make me realize that I am doing something right.
Children will take our lead. Show them that it will be okay. Show them good coping and problem solving skills. Teach them how to adapt to changes and to be flexible. I know this school year has not been ideal. I understand your frustrations.
I believe in you that you can handle what comes your way. I believe that your children can too. You are not alone. I am here for you and I am cheerleading for all of us. Keep Calm and Parent on!
Laughing, Loving, Learning,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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