Our world today looks much different than it did in the beginning of March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions that used to come easily (e.g. sending a kid to childcare or visiting loved ones) are now much more complicated.
Each family system is unique so there is no “one-size fits all” answer regarding childcare. For some families, the risks outweigh the benefits of children returning to childcare. However, for other families sending children back to childcare may be the best or only option. Some caregivers have returned to their office or realized that working with children at home is not conducive to a productive workday for their situation.
The following tips are intended to help with a smooth transition to a new routine – geared toward families who have decided that childcare is the best option for them.
- Check with primary care
Checking in with your child’s physician about their recommendation is a good place to start. A child’s primary care physician should know enough about the child’s health to determine if it is relatively safe for the family if your child returns to care.
- Monitor infection rates in your area
It is important to know about the rates of COVID-19 in your community. Some counties in Minnesota have relatively low rates and some have much higher rates. To view current county cases, visit this helpful resource.
- Ask questions about safety measures for staff and kids
State government has implemented guidelines that childcare centers will follow during the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with CDC guidelines, staff and some older children will be required to wear masks when feasible. It may be helpful to ask your child’s provider questions about what children can expect when returning to childcare regarding mask wearing and social distancing. Learn more about safety requirements for childcare settings here.
- Talk to your kids about changes
Childcare centers have experienced many changes in routine due to COVID-19. Most childcare centers are currently unable to allow caregivers into the building due to pandemic restrictions, which can make for difficult transitions in and out of centers. It is important to prepare kids for new drop-off and pick-up routines before their first day back. Additionally, children may experience fewer kids at the center, new kids, and possibly new staff. Talking through these changes with your children can help them prepare.
- Talk to your kids about their feelings
It is normal for an adjustment period to occur when presented with a new routine. Children will likely experience a wide-range of emotions about returning to childcare. They may experience some anxiety due to a change in routine or even feel confused about the change. It’s important for caregivers to provide space for kids to express whatever emotions they experience.