Reopening schools is best for children and parents, even if we feel torn about it

Lauren CrosMedlicott
·2-min read
Boris Johnson has described the return of schools as the 'national priority': Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA Wire
Boris Johnson has described the return of schools as the 'national priority': Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA Wire

The countdown has begun. Parents are eagerly crossing off each day of summer holidays, preparing for the start of school in September. This year, we are sending our kids back into the classroom after, not just six weeks, but six months of being out of a school setting.

This weekend, Boris Johnson has announced that it is a “moral duty” to get children back into school. I wouldn’t go so far as that, but I do think it will massively benefit both parents and children, even if we feel torn about doing so.

As a mum of three young boys, I have spent lockdown constantly bombarded with their needs and cuddles. Their snacks and their play. Their boredom and their company. There have been aspects I loved and cherished, and things I found monotonous and tedious.

For six months, my mind hasn’t been able to shut off. I’m either thinking about work that I need to get done for my job, homeschooling, preparing food, or worrying about loved ones that are classed as vulnerable. My mind is tired. While I feel that I have managed to cope, my mental health has taken a hit as I deal with physical fatigue from constant activity, irritability as the kids require my constant attention, loneliness resulting from seeing so few adults, and guilt that I’m not doing enough as a parent, friend, partner, or employee.

I have worked from home during lockdown – desperately squeezing in a few minutes here and there to check and respond to emails while the children eat lunch. I haven’t been able to throw myself into work how I would like during lockdown, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, once the kids are back in school.

Lauren Crosby Medlicott is a freelance journalist.

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