New Classroom. Same Values.
There is no doubt about it; no matter what our kids’ classrooms look like this year, this is a new situation for the students, educators, and parents alike. The classroom is different, but the values remain the same. Parents and teachers want what’s best for kids. We strive to foster their social and emotional well-being, their physical and mental health, and their academic achievements. We want to ensure that kids are safe and learning how to making good choices that will last a lifetime.
Our mission is focused on preventing underage drinking, and we know that there may be more on your mind right now than talking to your kids about alcohol. We understand.
We know these times call for parents to act with flexibility, adaptability, resiliency, and intention. Armed with these values, kids will be more prepared when the time comes to make healthy decisions. It is when these values of responsibility falter that uncertainty and risky behaviors take root.
Parents and caregivers with kids at home know all about flexibility—both in mind and body—and it’s important to remain willing and able to roll with the punches. Never have caregivers been asked to stretch themselves so thin both mentally and physically. Dining rooms are now workspaces and classrooms, and being able to shift focus gracefully is key. This may mean taking a few moments to help with geometry and then immediately shifting gears to log in to a zoom meeting, get dinner started, or accomplish countless other items on the to-do-list. It also may involve changing current schedules to accommodate this new—and hopefully temporary—lifestyle (and hoping your boss, kids, and other family members understand).
The only constant we can count on right now is change. Being not only open to change, but also able to accept this change and discuss new rules, plans, and schedules with members of the family will help back to school time be more successful for everyone. Showing our kids and teens that we can adapt to a new situation will give them the confidence to do the same. Modeling this behavior now will make a difference as they are asked to adapt to new ways of learning, playing and communicating.
You can do this. WE can do this. If there is a hiccup in plans—the wifi goes out! Someone misses a class! If it was a frustrating day—be aware of how you react. Kids are resilient, and so are parents. Our kids also watch the way we bounce back from a bump in the road. Knowing that they are observing our reactions may help us all be more resilient. Not every day will go as planned. There will be disappointments and tough moments, but if we take the time to think and talk things through calmly and work through the issues together, everyone will come back stronger—ready for when the next element of change comes your way!
Work-life balance may be close to impossible right now. Spending quality time each day with each of our kids may also be close to impossible. But setting intentions for the day or week may be easier to achieve. And this self-care and family-care is so necessary! Setting aside specific moments for work and other specific moments for family that are discussed and purposeful make those moments all the more meaningful. Whether it is a hike, dedicated time for independent work and play, allowing for some solitude to relax or read a book, or watching a favorite show at the end of a hard day, planning with true intention may help to bring some order to the chaos.
Keeping in mind these values as you work through the back to school time will also help when the time is right to talk to kids about other things that come up—including underage drinking.
For parents, modeling responsible behaviors and being intentional with words and actions is more important now that kids are home, stress may be higher than normal, and time (and options) for self-care is lower than usual. Kids are watching and listening. They will watch us as we show our flexibility, adaptability, resiliency, and intention. They will learn healthy ways to communicate with us and with their peers. And when the time comes to talk about alcohol and preventing underage drinking, the foundations of their values will be there. And so will we.
Welcome to your new classroom! Have a safe and healthy return to school!