Returning to school: What are our best hopes for our children at this time?
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Many of us are getting ready to see our children return to school after weeks of life at home. We may be experiencing a range of emotions, whilst trying to do the best we can for our children in a time of ongoing uncertainty.
Since Covid-19 came into our lives, we have had to deal with confusion and uncertainty as we have learnt to deal with this situation as best we can. We're making decisions every day that we think are the best decisions for our own families.
Experts in our own lives
In my family, we have chosen to look to ourselves rather than to 'experts' to inform our decisions.
What difference does it make when we see ourselves as experts in our own and in our families lives?
It can help us to control things during a time where there are many things we cannot control. By seeing ourselves as experts in our own lives, we are using our understanding of each other to inform decisions that make us feel safer, feel closer to each other, and that enable us to progress with our lives as a family as best we can.
Getting to know our families better
Having had this time together with my own family over the past weeks, and by observing our children, I have noticed that we are forming our own decisions and making plans with them, based on us knowing ourselves better than anyone else.
This period of time has taught me and reminded me of so many important things in life; the power of community, the power of love, the power of friendship, the power of giving, the power of compassion and the power of family. These are such positive things to take from such a difficult situation, and we must not lose sight of what we have gained from each other as people.
So as we, as families, navigate the return to school, I would invite you to ask yourself the following questions.
I would ask you to consider what your preferred future will look like when your child is back at school. Perhaps your best hope is that they achieve some normal routine again, even though it is different to before. Perhaps it is just for them to feel happy in the company of friends again.
What are your best hopes for your child and their return to school?
If these best hopes are to be achieved, what will be happening?
Now consider what worked well for your child at school before lockdown. What part of that old preferred future would need to be happening now in order to support your best hopes for their return to school?
What have you noticed that has pleased you about your child and your family life during this period of being at home?
What useful things about the last few weeks, tell you that the decisions that you make as a family now, will be the right decision for your child, and your family, as we move forward and through this period in our lives?
As families, I would invite you to remember to keep present these important things at this time:
What difference would it make if we invite our children to stay connected with their friends in a way that is right for them? I know I can sometimes impose my views on being connected, on my children. I have been working on this, by asking them what works for them. How do they want to stay connected? I've also been asking them what I can do to support them so that they can stay connected with friends in a way that works for them.
When we become fearful, we can become problem-focused. I know that I can sometimes amplify my fears into bigger problems. What differnce would it make if we trust in our children that they have the strength and resources to get through this? Our children are strong and resilient. We just need to invite our children to notice their strength and resilience by focusing on what they can do, not what they can’t.
Time and space
What difference would it make if we give our children the space and time they need to process this experience and time for just letting go? If we allow them to be experts in their own lives, whilst creating the space they need to talk all of this through?
Through this period of uncertainty and change, remember to keep focused on what we can do individually and as a family unit. By making decisions together, by seeing ourselves as experts in our own family, we can help ourselves to cope better with this situation and we can make a plan that is filled with hope and possibility for our family's future.
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