Parenting is a challenging season, and parenting during a pandemic is even more challenging. I have learned more about myself and how I parent in the past 4 months than ever before. I have learned to give myself grace when things don’t go exactly as planned. I have embraced the occasional TV time when I am nearing my breaking point. And I have dug deep to find fun activities that bond us closer together. We have become such a tight little family and for that I am grateful for this quarantine.
That being said, one of the parenting challenges that came up recently is sending the boys to preschool. Both of my boys were set to start in August. Since Walker’s birth, I knew when the boys reached the sweet ages of 2 and 4, I would get a little bit of a “break.” I would have 6 hours each week to myself. I envisioned myself joining our neighborhood’s Tuesday tennis league and training for a marathon. Well folks, as they say when you make plans, God laughs.
After a month long (honestly probably more) of praying, debating and discussing with everyone I know and trust, we made the decision to keep Walker home from preschool this year and send Reid to pre-K.
We came to this decision by weighing the pros and cons. Our biggest concern was Walker not socializing with kids his age. I want him to develop and become the best person he can be (like all parents!). I was nervous if we kept Walker home that he would miss a critical developmental stage of socialization (as we have already been limiting playdates).
My worry about his development was outweighed by the pandemic going on, the fact that he is only 2, he has plenty of years of school ahead of him and kids are resilience. Also, I realized that I need to give Walker more credit–he is very social; he is always playing with his older brother and interacts with neighborhood kids. He is a smart and kind little boy and he will be just fine missing a year of preschool.
I am 100% at peace with our decision and a phone call with my pediatrician this evening validated my decision to keep him from school. Our pediatrician advised us to keep Walker at home. She explained that 2 year olds will not keep masks on, have a tendency to put their hands in their mouths and are less likely to follow directions. She said that it was fine for Reid to go to school as older kids understand the importance of keeping their hands out of mouths and washing their hands. She did say that wearing masks and keeping social distance was important (however, our school is not implementing either of these parameters).
Overall, it was a very stressful decision. There is really no right or wrong decision. You have to go with your gut and heart and do what you feel is best for your family. Everyone is riding this wave differently, and showing everyone love and respect as they navigate this time is critical. I know our decision was extremely hard to make and I know many other parents struggle with the same decision—just trust yourself and find peace knowing that there is no wrong choice!
I hope everyone stays healthy and is at peace with whatever they decide to do this coming school year 🙂