Since Malaysia went on lockdown on 18 March 2020 to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have remained shut and kids had to continue learning online at home. More than three months has passed since then.
Finally, the government announced that pre-schools and kindergartens were allowed to re-open from 1 July 2020. Read here what our CoffeeMama advises for the first day of school!
As a mom of pre-schooling twins, the announcement has brought about mixed feelings. The maternal instinct in me wants to keep the kids well protected at home. The rational part of me however knows we cannot go on living this way. At some point, life has to go back to being normal, the ‘new normal’ at least.
While parents alike are still grappling with the decision of whether or not to send their kids back to school on 1 July, we have to accept the fact that it is also time to prepare the kids to be ready to go back to school. So, here are five things that you could do to better prepare your kids returning to school.
The three-month long hiatus away from school has definitely changed kids and their routine. One thing that is seemingly different compared to those once upon a time school days, is the waking up and sleeping routine of kids. This has of course been later than what it used to be.
Set a regular bedtime and morning time routine to help prepare your child for school. It will make it less stressful on the first day of school.
2. Check and lay out clothes and shoes to wear for the first day
Avoid frantic mornings by having your child choose what he/she will wear to school the day before. Planning this ahead will definitely make it easier for you to dress the kids up for school.
A note to remember though – kids grow up really fast. Clothes and shoes that fit three months earlier may not fit anymore! Make that effort to check fitting of all school outfits and shoes at least a day before school starts. Trust me, you do not want to end up finding out that your kids’ favourite clothes or shoes do not fit during that morning rush to school.
3. Explain to kids what to expect at school
Kids will have to adapt to the ‘new normal’ in these unprecedented times. Explain to the kids in advance why they need to wear masks to school. Provide them with spare masks and clean clear plastic bags to store their masks when not in use. You may even get the kids to try out wearing masks for a period of time at home, to get them more familiar to it when they start using masks in school.
Also, explain to your kids on adhering to social distancing. They will be more accepting to keeping a safe distance from their friends when it is well explained.
Show kids the right way to wash their hands and explain why practicing good hand hygiene will be a good way to keep germs at bay. Provide each kid with their own personal handkerchief to wipe their hands clean after handwashing.
4. Be a responsible parent
Every school has to adhere to a set of SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) outlined by the Ministry of Education. Make sure you cooperate with the school to ensure every procedure outlined is adhered to strictly.
Submit a Health Declaration Form on the first day back to school, stating the health condition of your child. It will be good to carry out temperature checks of your child before sending them to school to ensure they are healthy. Be responsible. Do not send your child to school if he/she has a fever, cough or flu.
Also, be punctual to drop off and pick up kids from school at the stipulated time for each age group. This is especially important to ensure no overcrowding of students at any one point of time.
5. Provide your kids with their own daily snacks
Under the SOP stipulated by the Ministry, kids will have their snacks in their individual classroom to ensure minimal movement. Where possible, provide your kids with their own daily snacks and their own bottle of water. It will minimize the need for your child to move about.
And what do the kids think?
As a mom, I have been plenty worried about how my twins will be adjusting at school. The twins on the other hand, have been super excited about going back to school and finally meeting their friends and teachers. We’ve had the talk about wearing masks and social distancing at school. Somehow, they love wearing masks. They seem to see it as a fashion accessory. My girl is a little worried though about having to social distance from her twin brother, to which he has assured her that they only have to distance themselves at school, and not at home. I believe they will do just fine; kids do adapt more easily than adults.
These are unprecedented times. All of us, parents and teachers, need to work together to ensure all procedures and guidelines are adhered to strictly for the better good of our children. Stay well and stay safe everyone!