How to talk to your children about the upcoming school year, plans

'You can be a better parent when you know where your child is coming from,' local mother, teacher says

Between virtual classrooms, homeschooling or even in-person learning -- how do you talk to your children about what their learning environment will look like in the fall?

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Between virtual classrooms, homeschooling or even in-person learning -- how do you talk to your children about what their learning environment will look like in the fall?

READ: Here’s what Michigan school districts have planned for the fall amid the pandemic

No matter what happens, parents with school-age children have some really tough decisions to make about school right now -- one of the hardest parts is talking to your children about it.

A local mother and former Southfield teacher is sharing her family’s decision and how she explained it to her daughter.

Eboni Crieghton decided early this summer she was going to home-school her 7-year-old daughter in September. She said, for her family, it was an easy decision.

“My daughter did not do well in terms of her behaviors and her attention. It was almost like she was a completely different child on Zoom,” Crieghton said. “She was shut down, she wasn’t talkative. She wasn’t her little outgoing self if she didn’t want to talk every time. I would tell her it was time to get on the computer, she would tear up. I was like OK, we’re not going to have this battle.”

Crieghton was a former elementary school teacher who spent 15 years working in the Southfield Public School District.

“Not every parent is going to be able to pull out their 15 years teaching experience of what to do with their kids all day while they’re working or having to go to work or trying to juggle childcare, but for our family, I’m able to do it. I can kind of work,” Crieghton said. “I made the decision early on for my own personal sanity and for hers.”

For started, Crieghton said no matter what you decide to do about school, talk to your children about it openly and don’t put off having that conversation.

“Let’s not pretend like, ‘Oh, this is cool. It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be great,’ and just not acknowledge the big elephant in the room,” Crieghton said. “Kids are not stupid. Let’s have that that conversation in the beginning and let’s not just pretend that it’s normal. It’s not normal.”

She said always take their feelings into consideration and let them know they are being heard -- even if they may not like your choices.

“I think just getting a pulse on certain things about how they’re feeling, and then secondarily, trying to project what may happen, talk it out,” Crieghton said. “Having the conversation with the kids so that they can share what their feelings are doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get their way, but they do need to have a chance to express themselves so that they can catch up to maybe where you already are as an adult.”

When you have that heart-to-hear with your children about what the school year will look like, timing is everything.

“Some kids aren’t morning talker, some kids are night time talkers. Try to speak to your children, maybe if you have multiple children, at different times of the day,” Crieghton said. “Maybe Friday night, one wants to be a snuggle bunny -- that’s the time to chit chat with that one.”

She wants parents to remember that little ones can have big feelings.

“I think you can be a better parent when you know where your child is coming from,” Crieghton said. “Know how they’re feeling. When you know the worries on their heart, or their concerns, or what bothers them or what triggers them.”

No matter what your family decides, she said it’s a great time to show your child extra love and patience because no matter what, this school year will look different and they will need time to process those changes.

Related:


About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.