So school’s out then! Although, at the moment, we have no idea how long school will be out. But as of Friday, school’s out for the foreseeable future. There are some children will still be able to go into school : most likely children of NHS workers, Emergency Services and lorry drivers, and those most vulnerable or with an EHCP. But again, there’s no definitive list as yet.
Either way, for the majority of us, school’s out.
How on earth are we going to stay sane?
Actually, are any of us parents sane on a good day?
I don’t know about you, but every morning before school I lose my mind anyway.
School’s out, now what?
Firstly. Step away from the lunchboxes. That’s right! No more packed lunches for an indeterminate amount of time. No half chewed sandwiches mixed in with chewed up and spat out fruit. This drives me loopy. Because despite the fact my children behave like fruit bats at home 🙄 the same fruit turns to poison when put into a lunchbox. (Well, I’m assuming so. I can’t think of any other logical reason that they’re unable to swallow it).
Secondly. Wash school uniforms and put them away. Out of sight, out of mind, but ready for whenever they can go back. The last thing you need when this is all over is a massive panic because you can’t find any school uniform under the mahoosive pile of washing that’s grown as a result of 17 outfit changes a day. Not because they’re ill. Because they need a different outfit for every bloody tiktok video they do. And we all know kids can’t hang things up again, they just throw it : On the floor, under the bed, in the laundry basket. Anywhere, but hung up to be worn again because it’s still clean.
Actually, do the PE kits too whilst you’re at it. Having to retrieve sweaty, muddy and crumpled PE kits from a bag after a few weeks will probably make you feel more ill than the actual reason for all the schools being shut.
Thirdly. Read any emails that you’ve been sent by the school. Some may contain links for home learning, others may be keeping you up to date on when they will re-open, and others could be letting you know about upcoming events/trips that may be cancelled. You don’t want to miss any important information…
Like when you can hand your children back to the underpaid professionals 😉
Lastly. Stay away from the scaremongering. It’s not going to do anybody’s mental health any good if you’re constantly refreshing The Daily Mail. And while you’re at it, don’t read their comments section either. The Daily Mail is essentially the bridge where all the trolls hide under.
What can you do whilst school’s out?
That all depends on whether you’re ill, self isolating or in an at risk group. If you are, then you’ll most likely be getting your money’s worth out of Netflix. Or trying to invent a meal out of soft crackers, half a box of the cereal nobody likes and a few stray chicken nuggets at the bottom of the freezer..
If you’re social distancing, or at home because school has closed, then your options are a little more relaxed. You can actually GO OUTSIDE.
Exciting stuff eh?
The National Trust announced today that :
We’ll work, where possible, to keep as many of our gardens and parklands open, free of charge, alongside coast and countryside, to encourage the nation to enjoy open space, while observing social distancing measures.The National Trust 17th March 2020
Which is great news! That means there will be loads of interesting outdoor places you can visit for nothing and have an adventure. Any onsite shops/cafes will be closed, but it doesn’t stop you taking a vat of coffee and a picnic.
Being outdoors is fantastic for our mental health. You can read more about that on my Forest Bathing post. The other great thing about being outdoors is that you won’t feel so isolated or claustrophobic, and the kids can burn off loads of energy, which might* stop them arguing over nothing for a while.
*I only said might. There’s no guarantee. Soz.
What will we be doing?
We aren’t at school’s out stage just yet. We’ve got 2 days left of term. So we’re mostly carrying on as normal at the minute. (Although trying to make packed lunches with no bread is a bit of a challenge).
When we do hit school’s out stage, and are hopefully still healthy, we’ll be doing as much as we can.
It’s a scary time for everybody at the moment, but I saw this online earlier :
And it really made me think. What if we didn’t talk about it as if it is a scary time? What if we treated the time we’re going to have once school’s out as a bonus? Maybe not bonus, because Covid-19 isn’t a trivial thing, but an extra holiday to spend with our children.
When you only have so many days annual leave a year, and the school holidays are at least twice your allowance, it can be difficult to do all the things you want to do in that short space of over-lapping time. So why not use the extra time to do some, or all, of the things you haven’t got round to?
School’s out : prepping children
Children aren’t silly. Especially now that they can access the internet in a million different ways. So it’s perfectly possible that they’ve heard of Covid-19 even if you haven’t discussed it with them. I know at my daughters’ school, the teachers are preparing the children as best they can, in a very non-dramatic, non-scary, but informative way. This has made my job much easier. Particularly explaining what will happen when school’s out.
Although, when I first mentioned the possibility of school closing, I wasn’t met with the whoops of joy I was expecting. In fact, Ruby burst into tears. Initially, I thought that meant that she didn’t fancy the thought of enforced time at home with a Mother who can never find her keys. But actually it’s because she just loves her school so much.
Emily was mostly bothered that she wouldn’t be able to practice tiktoks on the school playground 🙄
But I’ve turned it on it’s head and said that I can’t wait to spend some extra time with them once school’s out. Time where we can do all the things they’ve wanted to do, but we’ve never had the time, or there have been demands on our time that we couldn’t change. And that seems to have gone down pretty well. Instead of looking at the negatives of not being at school, now they are thinking about the positives.
We often joke that they’ll have grown up and moved out before we get around to doing some of the stuff they want to do. But it’s not really a joke. It’s frightening how quickly children grow up. I have to catch my breath when I remember Joe’s 19 and Jess is about to hit 18. Because it seems like last week when they were climbing trees or refusing to leave the park.
And it’s always at the back of my mind that I don’t really have much time before Emily and Ruby start not wanting to do things with me. Which is all the more reason to do the things they want to now. Well, as soon as school’s out that is.
Maybe it’s a gift?
If you take away all the bad stuff around the reasons why everything’s shut and school’s out, maybe we’re being given the gift of time: time to do all the things we don’t have time for. Time to catch up on all the jobs that get put off every month. Even time to just be together and learn as much as we can about each other.
So that’s why, once school’s out, we’ll be doing a little bit of home learning every day, but we’ll also be :
- Building a pillow fort and watching movies in it
- Baking cakes just for fun
- Reading as many books as we can
- Eating ice cream for breakfast
- Finally playing all our board games
- Curling our hair
- Doing makeovers
- Watching all 3 series of Stranger Things back to back.
- Making papier-mâché animals
- Doing some science experiments
- Finally learning how to use the sewing machine
- Competing to see who can build the most epic house on Minecraft. (It won’t be me).
- Rebuilding all the Playmobil buildings that we’ve lost the instructions for
- Doing the Lego challenge
- Spending loads for time down the beach
- Heading to some National Trust sites
- Teaching the puppy new tricks
- Going geocaching
- Making ice cream from scratch
And lots of other stuff I’ve probably forgotten about.
Keep calm and stay sane
And finally, because we’re living in unprecedented times, we need to keep calm and stay sane. Do whatever you need to in order to stay sane. Honestly, nobody is going to care if you spend more time watching Netflix over a few weeks than you usually do in a year. Nobody will care if the only eggs you can buy are Easter Eggs. In fact, you might even be considered a hero by your children. And absolutely nobody will care if you don’t manage to eat your five-a-day every day, because a bunch of buffoons have cleared every supermarket’s shelves.
The important thing is to get through this, relatively unscathed, with a sense of humour, having as much fun as possible.
At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself when a fight breaks out every 15 minutes, I’ve lost the ability to think and I’m googling how to adopt a teacher!