Schools Are Closed
Why Your Child May Not be as Happy as You Thought They Would be...

When schools first closed, there was a wave of excitement from my kids.  It was almost as if Spring Break came early and would last a little longer.  Then another week or two of school was cancelled.  Which was followed by our county distributing laptops and wifi hotspot devices for the students.  All of which still seemed really "cool".  Kennedy was up at the crack of dawn on FaceTime with her friends, my son playing video games with his friends and my oldest seemingly unbothered.  As the days went by and weeks added up, I slowly began to notice a change in their "happiness" about there being no school.  It began to shift from being happy to have a break from school to we might not have the same classmates or teachers when we return to school.  And, they would be right as the county recently announced schools would remain closed for the school year.

Before we ramble off about the many who are dead from this pandemic (which is the reason why schools are closed), take a moment to consider if that's what your child needs to hear right now.  Let your child feel whatever it is they are feeling and support that.  I can't imagine half a school year being taken away from me and then returning to school a whole grade higher.  What would suck more is if it were your last year at the school... think 5th graders, 8th graders and 12th graders.  Sure, you didn't get the graduation (many schools are actually making accommodations to give graduations at a later time) but you may never see those friends/classmates again.  Whether they're moving onto college, or going to a different school due to districting... this is the reality that has hit most students by now.

So while your child may have been excited at first but seemingly bummed out now, let them know it's okay for them to feel the way they feel.  Don't give them the "well children in Africa are starving right now" response that our parents often gave us when we shared disappointments.  Encourage virtual playdates, book clubs with their friends, or whatever might give them a sense of normalcy right now.  For younger kids, allowing them to construct + send an email to their teacher is really exciting for them.  I think it puts a smile on the teacher's face as well receiving a random "I miss you" email from a student.  As for your older children/teens, they really do enjoy those virtual classrooms more than they say.  Being able to see or hear their classmates outweighs the "work + assignments" they may get so make sure they're showing up!

When school does resume, we'll have students returning who may not be emotionally mature for that particular grade yet.  Remember, they didn't have the full school year to prepare for the next grade so that may come with its own set of struggles.  As parents, we can predict some of this and prepare for the challenges but there's no amount of preparation that will replace experience and that's what is being lost right now.  Do what you can but make LOTS of room for grace + patience over the next year... for both yourself and your children.  If any of you have ideas or tips that are working for your family, please share in the comments to help the next Mom.  It will LITERALLY take a community to get us all through this.



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