Should I Send My Kids To School?

Like most parents, I have also been humming and ha-ing about the pros and cons of
sending my four kids back to school. My mental chatter consists of endless
unanswerable questions: Are my children capable of wearing masks all day? Will
hand-washing and sanitation be enforced when the kids are not under my watch? Will
they be capable of learning amidst a slew of health and safety regulations upheld by
teachers? Will school close down for a second time? What happens when one of my
children have the sniffles? Who will stay home with my sick children while I go to work?
How will my husband and I homeschool again if the second wave arrives and how will
we juggle our work? Will my children’s reading and math skills rely on our
homeschooling – because then we are all in trouble!?!?

As a working mom of four, I have developed skills and hacks to ensure that I am never
in a position where I might need to go for a last-minute grocery store run with my four
kids. But these past few months have been an endless pit of uncertainty and volatility.
Figuring out a concrete “plan” has been a frustrating attempt. So, for this coming fall, I
have decided to prepare for the unknown by reframing my approach so that I can
control what I am able to for my family by being open and flexible to figure out any of the
ever-changing scenarios. We do not have immunocompromised members in our family
so the decision to send my children to school is an easier one for us to make.

To prepare our household as safely as we can, we are going to take the following
measures before school starts:

  1. Have custom masks made
  2. Practise wearing masks at home
  3. Establish a habit where the kids wash their hands when they enter new
    spaces, every time they eat, and if possible, before touching their face.
  4. Place hand sanitizers in their backpacks – labeled – making sure my younger
    children are able to open and apply bottles themselves
  5. Amp up their vitamin routine: vitamin C, vitamin D, astragalus, codonopsis,
    probiotics, fish oil, zinc, and NAC/glutathione
  6. Boost the nutrition in their lunch and snacks by adding brightly coloured whole
    foods, protein, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (see our Instagram
    feed for more healthy food ideas for your family)
  7. Support their immunity by having them sleep and properly support their stress
    with meditation, deep breathing, and talking out their feelings

I believe that by embracing a situation, not with fear but with preparation, my mask-wearing
children will be able to witness other children wearing masks who are learning and
socializing just like they are. The pandemic has created a huge shift in perception.  Normalizing and bringing these children together  will help them to support each other through this extraordinary time by exposing them to this restructuring of new order.

Learning is a life-long commitment and should not only be reduced to reading, writing and
arithmetic. Soft skills such as leadership, grit, perseverance and resilience are groomed,
in instances such as this, when we are challenged and called upon to rise.
As a mother, my hope is that this return to school will help my children reconnect with
their friends, cultivate community and comradery, foster their development and
emotional hardiness beyond the walls of what our family home can teach. I cannot know
what the future holds, but I do deeply understand that I want to equip my children with
tools and skills to face the unpredictable. As our family ventures into the abyss, we do
not fear the darkness; we just travel with a flashlight (and a backpack full of vitamins)
while humming the theme song from Frozen II until the next challenge arrives again.

Into the unknowwwwwwn,

Soma and Soul Wellness