Well, it finally happened…Volusia County spring break has officially ended.
It’s hard to believe that all those kiddos left school for a two-week break back in March, only to have it extended five months due to COVID-19. Never in my life have I heard so many kids actually say they WANT to go back to school!
Parents have had to make some tough choices during this summer regarding whether or not to send their children back to the brick and mortar school or bravely try and navigate online learning. Either way, the decision is tough and new regimens will have to be created to adapt to these new times.
For those children who are going back, not only do we need to educate them on the importance of cleanliness but we also need to assist them by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Being self-sufficient could play an important role in keeping students and teachers safe.
Here are 5 things you can do to help your student prepare for a new routine at school.
Mask Up: Which style is best for your kiddo?
There are so many different styles of masks available to you, but the most important question to ask yourself is which one will your kid actually keep on for the entire day? Maybe you can entice them with their favorite character or superhero? If so, there are people on Facebook and businesses on Amazon and Etsy creating masks with fun patterns for kids. This style comes with bands that loop around your ears or tie strings (the latter of which I do NOT recommend).
Then there is the fabric face shield, which when you don’t need it on can just be pulled down around your neck. This is a great option for younger kids, since they would be less likely to lose it or put it down on an unsanitary surface.
The third option I found is the plastic face shield. These are worn like a pair of glasses or with a band that goes around your head and has a clear plastic shield that covers your entire face. You can see through them perfectly and it keeps anything from actually touching your face.
A good idea would be to order a couple different styles and try them out to see which is the best for your kiddos. All of these options are affordable and can be easily purchased from the comfort of your home. Be sure to buy more than one and keep at least one backup in their backpacks. These items should be washed and sanitized regularly.
Bye Bye Germs: Staying clean between washes.
According to HealthyChildren.org, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the recommended way to stay germ free and using hand sanitizer with at least 60-95 percent alcohol is an easy way to kill germs between washes.
I am sure that the teachers are buying hand sanitizer in bulk, but it’s also a good idea to get a travel size one for your kid to have just in case. You can even find ones that will hook right to their backpack so they don’t have to worry about keeping track of it.
The website also states that having a conversation with your child about how to properly use it is very important, especially since you won’t be at school to monitor them.
You want to make sure they are staying safe and know to never ingest it. If you are one of those DIY parents and want to make your own hand sanitizer at home, make sure you find a really reputable place to get your instructions from and follow them to a T. If you don’t, you could end up with either a product that doesn’t work at all or worse, something that could potentially harm their skin. Do the research and see what will work for you and your little ones.
Pack it Up: How to help teachers and students during lunch time.
One of the biggest changes for the new school year is lunchtime. Clearly this will not be a problem for highschoolers, but for the younger students this can really hold up the flow of lunch break if a teacher has to help the students open items in their lunch box because they can’t.
Potentially problematic items include chips bags, yogurts and fruit snack cups and packs to name a few. There are a couple ways to help your child become more independent during this time of the day.
1. You can work with them at home on how to actually open the individual packages and have them practice after school and on weekends.
2. You can pre-open the packages and put all items in plastic snack bags with or without a seal, depending on what your child is comfortable with. There are some durable, reusable zip baggies on the market as well.
3. Purchase a bento box for kids. This is one plastic container that is sectioned off to create multiple compartments with an attached lid that is designed to be easily opened by your youngster. This is probably my favorite option since I am always trying to find a way to use less single-use plastics.
They are cheap, have fun designs, fit right inside lunch boxes and can be found online. Whichever option you choose will be a huge help to teachers and mean less contact with your child’s lunch.
Stay Hydrated: Finding a water bottle that works for you.
I haven’t heard anything official on this, but I can’t imagine that the water fountains will be available to students during this time. And if they are, I would steer clear until we have this virus under control!
This means that it is more important than ever to make sure your favorite mini humans have plenty to drink throughout the day. Most backpacks even have convenient side pouches on either side, making it really easy to keep them hydrated without needing a water fountain.
This is in addition to whatever drink they have for lunch. I mean, think about it… they are at school from anywhere between five and seven hours a day.
Again, you can easily find these online, or at local retail stores for a nominal price, but keep in mind you want to choose a style that can easily be opened without assistance.
Also, buy a couple and if I were you, I would make sure they are dishwasher safe. There is nothing worse than having one you have to hand-wash every night. I mean, we are trying to make things easier here, not harder.
Rub A Dub Dub: How to properly wash hands.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record here because we have all heard it over and over again since March, but… wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!
This is the simplest way we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Kids already have the bad reputation of being grubby little creatures who can spread a germ like wildfire and this is no different.
Thankfully studies are finding the virus is not affecting the younger generation as much, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t carriers who spread it on to adults.
This is why teaching your kids how to properly wash their hands is just as important as doing it yourself, and honestly it’s a really good habit to have no matter what. Creating a good hand washing routine at home can lead to good habits at school when you are not around to regulate their cleanliness.
Encourage your children to wash up before every meal, after using the bathroom (of course) and immediately as you walk in the front door of your home. In order to get them to scrub long enough, have them sing the Happy Birthday song while they wash. Every kid knows it and it will help keep them at the sink a little longer.