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Going Back to School: Tips on How To Ensure Children Are Safe.
Is It Safe For Your Children To Go Back to School?
How to ensure children are safe to return to school is a serious thought in every parent’s mind.
Back-to-School 2020 is a TIME like no other.
Gone are the jovial crowds, jostling to find the best deals on school supplies like markers, pencils, notebooks, and Kleenex.
Stores are quiet.
Silent, masked individuals move around the stores, not taking the effort to talk or make eye contact since no one can see their smile.
Stores hide their back-to-school items, uniforms, and school supplies along the back wall instead of broadcasting their sales in the front lobby.
This year doesn’t look like it usually does. The hesitance is tangible.
It’s time for school, but no one knows what that really means.
In some states, no one knows for sure when and if schools will ever start.
When educational facilities finally open their doors, what will school look like?
Parents have to make quick decisions with ever-changing situations.
They feel the weight of the world on their shoulders.
If they send their children to a traditional school, are they compromising their own health and the health of their kids, the teachers, grandparents, school workers, and staff?
The school does not just provide academics to children.
Students also learn social and emotional skills and access to mental and special needs support.
Students also have access to computers, the internet, and other vital services in a school setting.
Parents should be aware of what the school’s policies are concerning children’s safety while in school.
On the other hand, if they keep their children at home, are they separating their children from the necessary social and emotional support they normally get through time with friends?
What steps can parents take to ensure their children are safe?
How can you as a parent make the wisest choice, and how can you ensure your children are safe?
What is the parent’s role in keeping those precious little ones healthy during the back-to-school rush?
Let’s explore some tips from a parent on how to ensure your children are safe to go back to school no matter what option you have chosen.
While implementing these tips, it is my prayer that the Lord will guide you into making the right decision and I pray that the Lord protects and shields every child and family from all harm and danger.
1. Stay Updated on CDC Guidelines.
The most reliable resource to refer to when making safety-related COVID-19 decisions for you and your family is the CDC.
Being on top of CDC guidelines will help you make sure your child’s school is operating in the safest and most efficient way possible.
For the most part, you need to teach your children about the importance of wearing the mask or cloth face covering, hand washing techniques, and social distancing.
This will help guide decisions such as whether or not your child should go back to school and will help give insight into things you can do on your end to ensure they’re safe going back to school.
2. Check Your School’s Safety Policy.
In a traditional school setting, an easy first step is checking the school’s mask and safety policies in the classroom and in outdoor spaces.
Some schools are flexible about masks, only using them when absolutely vital to keep state mandates.
Other schools strictly enforce mask usage.
Some schools are going to great lengths to ensure that children do not mingle in hallways, common areas, recess, and the lunchroom.
Instead, children limit their interaction with the people in their own classrooms.
These measures can be very helpful in holding back the spread of the virus, allowing schools to easily isolate rooms that may become infected without shutting down the entire school.
Find out the school’s policy on washing hands, sanitizing equipment and high-touch surfaces, social distancing, mask usage, and other personal protective-PPE measures.
Make sure that their standards of operation are in line with the CDC’s recommendations.
3. Cleanliness During Transitions To and From School.
When your child leaves for school, make sure they are equipped with a mask and personal hand sanitizer.
Teach him or her to use hand sanitizer when on the bus and when leaving school for the day.
There are many cute children themed sanitizers on Amazon that will encourage children to use them.
They can attach these portable hand sanitizers to their book bags for decoration.
Arriving home in the afternoon, have a designated area where soiled school items, such as backpacks, are placed.
Your child should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water according to CDC guidelines and change their clothes immediately after arriving.
Later, when it’s time to sign papers and do homework, treat the school items as you would any germ-laden item, such as currency.
Teach your child to wash his or her hands after using items from his or her backpack, and not to touch their eyes or face while handling school items.
Temperature Checks: You should plan to monitor your children’s health at home especially their temperature with a thermometer (not the back of your hand).
The child should stay home if they have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater or any signs of not feeling well.
These important steps will help keep your children safe and healthy.
While the CDC does not provide scientific studies that suggest that COVID-19 transmission may be low among children, they stress that this is the case when proper protocol is followed.
You may find that your child’s school might not follow the COVID-19 protocol that is the safest or most efficient.
When you choose some form of homeschooling, social distancing becomes much more efficient and effective.
If you or one of your children has a health problem that would put you at significant risk were you to contract the virus, you may find that schooling or distant learning from home is the most viable option.
Getting some homeschooling ideas can help you to effectively provide good targeted educational instruction to your children.
An accompanying homeschool planner and activity journal are resources that can make homeschooling easier.
Whether using the school’s online curriculum or your own, homeschooling provides a way to stay away from out of your control germs and contagions.
Keeping your child at home becomes an automatic safety mechanism for helping your child stay healthy.
While homeschooling, do not forget or neglect spirituality.
Nurturing spirituality in a child early leads to the development of a more harmonious and meaningful life.
Proverbs 22:6 says to; “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
5. Avoid Stranger Danger.
When you choose to keep your child at home, you may elect to hire a tutor to guide him or her through the online curriculum.
Like any babysitter, this tutor must be thoroughly vetted. Will the tutor provide effective emotional support, or will she dismiss your child’s fears and needs?
Does your tutor have plenty of thorough references, a background check, and other proof that they are safe to be around children?
After you hire a tutor, listen to your children and what they tell you about the way their tutor treats them.
Don’t just go with the flow because hiring a tutor is cheaper than a private school.
Keeping your children safe from the virus will mean nothing if they are not safe from their in-home teacher too.
6. Being a Safe Teacher-Mom.
If you choose to stay home with your children, you are poised to provide not only physical safety but also emotional health.
Who knows your children better than you do? Is anyone else more invested in their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being than the mother herself?
You may be confident that you can provide the safety and attention your children need.
As you homeschool your children, there may be times when you become overwhelmed by your children’s daily needs.
The novelty of teaching and parenting at the same time and the question of how to entertain everyone and keep everyone engaged in learning could become challenging.
During these times of stress, it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can be present as a healthy, safe, and fun mom.
Become aware of situations and comments that trigger you or tempt you to blow your top.
Do you feel shame when you think you haven’t done enough?
Do you feel upset when your children don’t perform as well as you’d hoped?
Are you comparing and measuring your children—and yourself—to other schools, moms, and situations?
Could you be pushing your children too hard? Are your expectations too high or too low?
Since you will be home 24/7 with your children, make sure you take time away to recharge.
180 Days of Self-Care for Educators can help you understand how prioritizing your own self-care will better equip you to positively impact student learning and achievement.
Read God’s word, walk in nature, read a good book, or vent to a friend.
Make sure that you are a safe mom to your children.
7. Pour on the Healthy Touch.
No matter what option you choose for schooling your child this school season, there are things you can do to keep your child safe physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
A very important ingredient to safety and well-being is a healthy touch.
Make sure your child gets plenty of safe, healthy touch while at home.
Numerous studies have shown the critical importance of human touch to our well-being and safety.
Dr. Asim Shah, A medical doctor-MD who teaches at Baylor College of Medicine states that “touch starvation increases stress, depression, and anxiety, triggering a cascade of negative physiological effects.
The body releases the hormone cortisol as a response to stress, activating the body’s ‘flight-or-fight’ response.
This can increase heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and muscle tension, and can suppress the digestive system and immune system—increasing the risk of infection…
‘Every single medical disease including heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, asthma—every single physical disease—is altered if you are more anxious, more depressed or if you have more mental health issues.’”
You may not think that touch has anything to do with health, or that children need touch in order to be safe.
But in reality, their immune systems and health are compromised when they are deprived of the loving hugs, high-fives, pats on the back, and other experiences they previously received at school.
This means that it will be your job to fill in those gaps.
Becky Bailey, Ph.D. promotes the “I Love You Rituals” series on youtube as a way to incorporate healthy touch into your child’s life.
The four key ingredients of an “I Love You Ritual” are presence, healthy touch, gentle eye contact, and playfulness.
Sweet and playful connecting games, explained inDr. Bailey’s book, I Love You Rituals, can help increase the bonding and safety in your home.
Make sure to look up Ashley’s Conscious Life on Youtube to learn how to use “I Love You Rituals” in a day-to-day context.
Each of these tips will help keep your children safe during an uncertain time.
8. Social and Emotional Safety.
An important element of safety that cannot be neglected is children’s social and emotional safety.
Many schools provide social-emotional training every week.
At school, children learn to calm themselves, breathe deeply, solve arguments, and make friends.
Children learn how to express their frustration in helpful words and have a positive attitude towards life.
It’s important not to neglect children’s social and emotional safety.
If you choose to keep your children home from school, they may miss their friends and teachers.
You know you love your child. But how can you make sure your child knows it?
5 love languages of children will help you discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands.
They may miss the playground and after school activities even more.
If you send your child to a traditional school, they may feel stressed by seeing everyone in masks and by being introduced to rituals and routines that are completely foreign to them.
They may feel scared and startled by teachers who will no longer hug them, get close to them, or smile at them (due to social distancing and masks).
Social and emotional health are critical parts of safety.
Children whose emotional needs are not met are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression.
Are you listening to your children’s needs and point of view? Are you offering a comforting presence, understanding, curiosity, and kindness to your child?
These elements will improve their emotional well-being, which in turn promotes physical safety.
9. Other Immune Boosters.
The addition of immune system boosters to your daily regimen can help to ensure your children are safe at home and in the community.
In addition to healthy touch and psychological safety, there are many other simple, practical and cost-effective ways to support the immune system and help ensure your children’s safety during this volatile time.
Vitamin supplements, good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and exercise are other ways to ensure your child stays as healthy as possible.
First, help keep your children safe by boosting their immune defenses.
Vitamin C, D, and Zinc are the most popularly recommended by medical practitioners for immune system support.
All these supplements come in different forms including gummies.
Vitamin C is a well-known vitamin that helps children avoid sickness.
Zinc and Vitamin D are also important for strengthening your body’s natural defenses.
Second, help keep your children safe by ensuring they have plenty of sleep.
The Sleep Foundation shares, “Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response…. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.” https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity.
Third, emphasize exercise for your children.
Ensure that they are getting outside to move their bodies in fun ways.
In this way, it will work out for the safety and health of all involved.
10. Trusting God Brings Ultimate Safety.
One of the most difficult admissions for you as a parent to make is that ultimately, you cannot ensure that your children are 100% safe.
Stray germs could come into the cleanest environment.
The most diligent teacher could allow a safety breach.
Danger could come out of nowhere. No matter how hard you try, you can’t ensure your child is 100% safe.
Rather than becoming paranoid, we can seek God’s strength to rest in His sovereignty and love.
Ultimately, safety only comes from God.
The words of Psalm 27 describes an attitude of peaceful calm, trusting in the Lord’s protection:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
whom shall I dread?
When the wicked came upon me to devour my flesh,
my enemies and foes stumbled and fell.
Though an army encamps around me,
my heart will not fear;
though a war breaks out against me,
I will keep my trust.” (Psalm 27:1-3 BSB)
The next verses explain the reason why David can have such confidence.
His ultimate request is not for protection from germs or other earthly harm.
“One thing I have asked of the LORD;
this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and seek Him in His temple.
For in the day of trouble
He will hide me in His shelter;
(God)He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5 BSB)
Ultimately, our safety comes from God alone.
When our desire is the presence of God, we feel the security of hiding under his wings—even if we do get sick.
We should continue to work hard and do our best to keep our children safe.
But in the end, we should entrust them to the one who loves them more than we do.
And in Him, we can rest.
Praying for God’s continued blessings and guidance………♥