August 25, 2020
Parents everywhere understandably have some apprehension about whether or not to send their children back to child care. Let’s face it – it was never an easy decision to send your child to child care in the first place, whether they were 6 weeks old or a year old or four years old. And then a global pandemic made it exponentially harder to be a parent, to make decisions to affect your family and to feel confident about those decisions.
Regardless of whether it’s your preference to send your child back to care while you work remotely, you’re an essential worker who needs child care or you must head back to your office and need your child to go somewhere safe and reliable during the day – you aren’t alone if you’re a parent who’s had to make some tough decisions lately.
Some members of our very own Sunshine Billingual corporate staff were in a very similar situation not long ago.
Here are their stories:
Child: Claire (2 years old)
Pandemic situation: Both of us [Kim and her husband, BJ] were working full-time with a very active 2-year old in tow. Working at home with Claire was an evolution of chaos – Pure chaos at first… chaos that we adapted to later on… chaos that we think we mastered?… chaos that we kind of missed once she went back to school.
Why Claire went back to Sunshine Billingual: Our family unit needed to get back to some sense of normalcy and Claire needed to be with her friends. We felt constant guilt that we weren’t doing enough for her, torn between being good parents and employees. At first, we were motivated by Sunshine Billingual actually having a spot available for her, and we continued to feel more at ease because of my confidence in the Executive Director and the staff at the Academy to take care of her.
How were Claire’s first days back? We had mixed emotions (as I’ve found every part of parenting to be). We were happy that she would be in a place she loved with people she loves, thankful that we had almost 4 months to spend at home with her at such a fun age, sad that our full-time togetherness was ending and knowing I would miss her during the day. I was SO sad dropping her off as she confidently walked away from me without looking back. As a mom, you can’t ask for more though… better for her to walk away confidently, then to have both of us parting in tears.
How are things going? It’s been about two months. It’s been really great. Every day at pick up, Claire exclaims, “had fun at school mommy!” We still get the occasional “want to stay with mommydaddy” (yes, BJ and I apparently melded into one unit over quarantine) which I love, but we are able to remind her of the fun she has with her friends and teachers and her attitude quickly shifts.
Child: Adam, 11
Pandemic situation: I worked from home while my son had distance learning from school. My husband went back to work and I was the only one with the option to work from home. We had a routine, but definitely wanted everything to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Why Adam went to Sunshine Billingual: My son went to Sunshine Billingual as soon as the school year ended. Distance learning was difficult with all the constant changes and I am definitely worried about an academic slide as well as not interacting with his peers.
How were his first days back? We were both very happy to get back to our normal morning routine and he was very happy to be at Sunshine Billingual with other kids.
How are things going? He’s been back a couple of months. Everything has been great.
Children: Sophia (7) and Christian (5)
Pandemic situation: My husband and I both worked from home between mid-March and early June. Since my daughter was in first grade at the start of the pandemic, we had to continue her learning online while we both worked full-time. Since my husband has a lot of calls and meetings during the day, the online learning largely fell to me. I made one of those boards with our daily schedule on it. That lasted a few days before we went into survival mode.
Why Sophia and Christian went back to Sunshine Billingual: My husband and I realized just how important socialization, schedule and structure are for our kids. We learned what the new drop-off and pick-up procedures would be like and how the classroom rules had changed and prepared Sophia and Christian for the weeks leading up to their first day back.
How were their first days back? They definitely weren’t as excited about returning as I was! But they fell back into their former routines very quickly and without much effort.
How are things going? Things are going great! They love seeing their friends every day and are enjoying the last few weeks of summer camp before the virtual school year starts.
Child: Ben (5)
Pandemic situation: Our family of four was home from mid-March through early July. My husband and I worked from home with our two kids, Ben (5) and Juliet (3). We never really had a set routine – we handled each day as it came. The kids watched more TV than usual, but they also engaged in a lot of pretend-play and outside play. But they made their fair share of appearances on our video conference calls with co-workers and spent a lot of time demanding snacks and getting into scuffles.
Why Ben went back to Sunshine Billingual: Child care regulations changed in our state, allowing non-essential workers to send their children back to child care, and we felt Ben had missed out on a lot of formal learning and needed to get back into a classroom setting before starting kindergarten this fall. He was a little nervous but mostly excited to go back to school.
How were Ben’s first days back? Honestly, they were pretty uneventful. There were some operational changes to how things worked at Sunshine Billingual. For example, I drop Ben off at the front door, they take his temperature and lead him to his classroom – so parents never have to go in the building. But having WatchMeGrow allows me to check in during the day, so I can see how he’s doing.
How are things going? We’ve been really happy with how things are going. Ben is having a blast. He’s learning a lot and making new friends. We will be sad to leave in a few weeks so Ben can go to kindergarten. But I feel confident he’ll do well since he’s used to a classroom environment.
To find out more about the health and safety changes Sunshine Billingual locations have made, check out more about our Health Essentials program. To get more information about enrollment, find an Academy near you.
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