What a crazy two years it’s been since Covid 19 ruled all of our lives. But now most children are returning to their school classrooms with lots of precautions taken and procedures in place. Parents may still have some concerns about the in-person learning, but they’re also so relieved to be returning to some semblance of normal.
Be assured that teachers have their own list of concerns. They have their own health to consider and that of their families, but also must see to the safety and welfare of a classroom full of students. This time has its challenges.
How can you help? Grandparents are always a wonderful source of back-up support and this time is no different. Here is a list of things you can do to support your grandchildren as they return to school this year.
- Helping financially. This may not seem to be the warm and fuzzy way to help, but families, especially those with more than one child, get hit fairly hard with the expenses related to back to school. There are clothing items including expensive coats and shoes, fees related to athletics or other activities, school supplies, backpacks…. And the list goes on. You may wish to watch for sales all during the summer months, and do some of the shopping yourself, or simply write a check. Your children will appreciate your help.
- Show an Interest in your grandchild’s world. Maybe you can visit the building with them and get the grand tour. Maybe you can attend back to school night along with the parents to meet the teacher. Perhaps you could watch their first team practice or attend a swim meet. Showing an interest in whatever is important to them is another way of showing your love for them. If you can’t be there in person, ask for pictures and be ready to ask questions about their school world.
- Many schools have Lunch Programs or other times when grandparents are encouraged to come to school and spend time with their grandkids. These visits mean a lot to young ones and are another way to say “I care.” Grandparents are usually welcome to be a volunteer in the school classroom as well.
- Take on some of the burden of overseeing Homework Assignments. Most young children are expected to read each evening for a specified number of minutes. Busy parents with several children barely have time to cook meals and do the laundry and may not be able to cover this chore. Grandparents can take up the slack by being the listening ear, even if you need to do it virtually. Or you may excel at math or writing. Be willing to help your grandchild solve a particularly tricky word problem or read over their latest essay.
- Fundraisers. That is a terrifying word for many parents. It means their children have to try to sell something whether it’s candy bars, magazine subscriptions or pledges on trips around a race track. Grandparents can spare a few dollars to make those fundraisers less of a headache for overworked parents.
All of these ways to support are easier for grandparents living in close proximity to their children and grandchildren. It’s a lot more effort to be there for the kids if you live many miles away. But it’s not impossible. Today’s technology has taught most of us oldies the basics of using computers and screens. We know how to make a video call or get on a zoom meeting. Just set up the best way to connect with your family and use it regularly. You may not be able to show up for their school lunch program, but you certainly can show your love, interest and caring by reading a story online, or e-mailing back and forth about the latest writing assignment. Even an old-fashioned phone call can be an encouraging way to stay in contact with your loved ones.
Don’t forget to check in with your children to see if there are other ways you can be of help as your grandkids return to the classroom.