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Challenge: Reflecting on a Year of Pandemic Parenting

Why I’m going to send my kids to summer camp this year

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Should I send my kids to summer camp?

I don't know if I should, but I am.

I think?

I mean, I think I am enough that last night before any more "sold out," I registered them for some and filled out the paperwork to send the tiniest of 'em to VPK at her zoned public school.

Usually, I wouldn't stress this.

Typically, if you asked if my kids were enrolled in activities for the summer, it wouldn't even be a question.

"Why freakin', of course! The love keeping busy and partaking in group activities!"

But

keeping busy,

partaking in group activities

and spending longer than a few minutes indoors at a time or around people we don't know or those that aren't being cautious,

it's something we HAVE NOT done since the pandemic came about here in the U.S. back in mid-March of 2020.

It was last Spring Break when my kids came home on a Friday

AND NEVER RETURNED TO THEIR CAMPUS.

Never returned to

baseball,

dance,

The Florida Aquarium,

the local children's museum,

or the inside of a restaurant.

Because flippin' COVID.

Because there wasn't a vaccine.

Because we were so afraid that one of them, or one of us, would catch the virus.

Because we were so fearful that one of them or one of us would spread the virus.

And now, almost a year to the day later, after so much social distancing and steering clear of

organized extracurriculars,

anything involving a group,

most things that aren't open-air,

anything, anywhere and anyone more likely to up my kids' chances of coming down with coronavirus,

we're thinking it *might* be okay to leave our bubble a bit.

Trepidaciously, no doubt.

Incredibly carefully, of course.

With masks on and regularly sanitized hands, I think we can and should do this.

About 13% of our state of Florida, including myself, is fully vaccinated, and though that number is still relatively low, it sure is an improvement from where we were at.

And even in conversation with my kid's amazing pediatrician, who I am so grateful for, she's commented that she feels "a lot better" about the idea of children getting a bit more back to their "normal."

Now nothing is standard about having to wear a mask to summer camp.

I mean, I can imagine not being able to smile at each other will make it slightly more challenging to make new friends.

BUT, you know what the kids will have in common?

The fact that they are not just surviving an incredibly unforeseen time in history, but thriving, if only by their positive attitude and will to love life, even when theirs has been turned upside down.

There's an argument to be made on both sides of this, and neither is wrong.

There's people that have been braving the indoors, the stores, the classrooms, restaurants, and the general public with no qualms since this all began.

Some people will think I'm nuts, overly-confident, and perhaps careless for choosing to open our life back up a bit.

Then there's me, who's doing the best I can with the information I’ve got and hoping and praying for the best.

My kids and I have learned a lot about each other this past year.

My kids and I have grown a lot, collectively as a unit and individually.

And I think now it's time for us to be brave together, be smart together, and have faith that this step forward won't take us backward.

There's good physical health to keep, sure, but it's also imperative to stay well mentally and voluntarily hermiting up, it can be wearing, on all fronts.

So here we go, folks.

Baby steps.

First comes summer camp, then school in August -- one masked-up step and deep breath at a time.

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