Basically, there are no perfect learning options for our children this year. There are ‘pods’, distance learning, a few in-person preschools, homeschooling curricula, virtual tutors, and a slew of online learning supports. Parents aren’t happy. Teachers aren’t happy either. And kids are caught in the middle of it all. However, one thing is for certain—we’ll all be going through it together. So, it’s up to each of us to consider how we’ll survive, and even thrive, in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. How will we reframe the current situation and turn disruption into innovation? How will we observe our kids, stay in touch with their struggles, and find ways to support their physical, mental, and emotional health? How will we sustain hope and optimism, keep our families safe, and adapt to this new ‘normal’?
First, let’s release all of our adult expectations about how this year will go. What we remember fondly about our first year of kinder or our last year of high school is just not relevant for our kids. Their experience will be different. We’ll be learning right alongside our kids and perhaps that’s a gift. Instead of imparting knowledge about how school works, our kids will be the intrepid leaders, sharing their experiences with us.
Second, teachers have been hard at work this summer preparing to teach creatively and effectively online, so let’s give them another chance to connect with our kids in a new way. Who knows? Some kids may thrive in an online setting. This is a new modality for teaching and learning and we’re all figuring it out together. Will it be perfect? Probably not. It can, however, be a teachable moment and a life lesson. With struggle and even failure, we pick ourselves up and try, try again. That’s how we build resiliency in the midst of adversity and change.
Third, what happened in March, stays in March. Let’s leave those experiences behind us. It’s a new year filled with new opportunities. Children, and yes, even teens, look to us for guidance and support. How will we model resiliency, flexibility, and optimism—even as we live in pandemic times? To do this, we may need support. Our friends, grandparents, and extended family are an integral part of our network.
In addition, reach out anytime to our parenting experts here at the Center for Children and Youth, who can support your family with everyday parenting issues to more complex learning needs. We have consultants and clinicians that specialize in infancy and early childhood, through adolescence and young adulthood.
You’re not alone. We’re all adjusting to living with uncertainty in the coming year. Take a deep breath, release it, and let’s embrace the imperfect together.