1. Life & Culture

Parenting: How we’re easing the kids into our new normal

We are encouraging them to embrace change, even though it is difficult.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel mom of two girls.
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel mom of two girls. [ Courtesy of Lynn Cristina ]
Published Jun. 16, 2020

I have never been so excited for summer. It’s June and our community is cautiously starting to reopen. Extracurricular activities have resumed, and summer camps are in full swing, making this mom both happy and a bit anxious.

We are so ready for life to resemble some degree of normalcy, but as we emerge from quarantine it is quite evident that we aren’t returning to “normal” anytime soon.

As businesses, day cares and summer camps open their doors, they are educating the public about the precautions being put into place to keep us healthy. Social distancing is in full effect, temperatures are being checked at the door and tubs of hand sanitizer are everywhere. Employees are behind Plexiglass, stickers on the floor direct us where to stand and our neighbors walk among us wearing masks and gloves.

I am not very good with change, but I know these measures are to keep us safe.

When I drop my girls off at camp, I remain in my vehicle until a staff member comes to the car to check their temperatures and then escort them inside the building. Instead of watching my daughter train during her karate class, I will wait for her outside. Our routine has resumed, but it looks different — and that’s okay with me.

My children are thrilled to have the opportunity to go to camp a few days a week. They are super active and social kids who miss their friends very much. I was starting to worry that the isolation wasn’t good for their social and emotional well-being.

Summer camp will be their first experience outside of our house since March. Until now, the girls have been safely tucked away at home. In an effort to keep them protected when we are out and about, I bought each one a few cloth face masks.

It is the one big change I just cannot seem to get used to. I am really struggling with seeing my babies’ faces almost completely covered. I made sure to order the masks with cute unicorns, flowers and rainbows so it wouldn’t be scary for them to wear them. At first, the girls were excited to try the masks, but seconds later, they complained the masks were hot and heavy. I had to buy a few different kinds to make sure they were breathable enough.

I am grateful that it isn’t mandatory for the masks to be worn during their extracurricular activities, and I don’t think kids their age will keep them on. Right now, we utilize the masks on days when social distancing might be a challenge or if we are going into a business where a mask is required. I am comfortable with our children wearing a mask for short periods of time.

In our house, we have educated our children about the dangers of the coronavirus in an effort to help them understand what is happening in the world around them. Because our message isn’t fearful — it’s cautionary — our girls are not scared. We are encouraging them to embrace change even though it is difficult as we move forward toward better days.