Recently in Illinois, there has been much confusion around children wearing masks at school. No matter your stance on whether or not children should be wearing them in school, there is much confusion and this can also be difficult for the children. They are hearing different sides of the argument and in some cases, there are parents who have strong opinions and these voices are getting loud. This does not help children know what to do and can cause stress for both the children, parents, and other impacted parties.
One of the most important things that should be done at this time is communicating with your children. Talk to your children about your views in a way that they can understand. This can help them to know how the family feels about the issue. If this is not what the school is doing, make sure you talk about why this may be different and what your child should be doing. Make sure to talk to them about how people make different decisions and have different ideas around whether masks should be worn in schools right now.
Make sure to talk to your children about being respectful of the choices that others may be making. Not everyone has the same belief about masks, but it is important to still be nice and respectful to others. This has not been the case in all of the board meetings that have been happening recently so make sure that children are being respectful of others.
This potential change for some is confusing for many children. For the last two years or so, they have been told that they need to wear masks to help protect others and so that people do not get sick. This change happened quickly without much time to talk to children about this change. They may not understand why know it is deemed safe to not need masks in school so it is important to talk with them about their fears. If they are nervous about not having them anymore, talk to them about what else they can do and others are doing to help keep people safe. If masks are no longer required in their school, if they are still nervous, talk to them about whether or not they still want to wear a mask.
If your children are coming home upset about what is happening in school, make sure to talk with them. There have been some stories of children being teased for either wearing a mask or not wearing one. While this is not behavior that should be happening, talk to them if it is so you can help them sort through their feelings. If there is severe bullying, then reach out to the teacher or the principal to help navigate the situation.
This is a difficult and confusing time for many so make sure you are talking to your children about their feelings and what is happening. If you need more advice or ideas around this, feel free to reach out to me.