Decision-Making as Parents: The 4Cs

August 10, 2020, Shirley Rubio Blake

We are nearly in the middle of August. I hope this blog finds you well! Despite a handful of changes and challenges,

my family has been enjoying summer as much as we can. Starting out the pandemic during Oregon’s rain had us yearning for summer sunshine. We have enjoyed being outside for most of summer, but the heat these past few weeks have been bringing us back indoors, where the A/C keeps us cool.

Since I am working from home with my children, a schedule has helped to keep us on track during my work day. And getting back into a schedule helps me feel better when the thought of online school looms in the back of my mind.

As parents, we decisions to make when it comes to childcare, preschool, and school for the coming school year. Parenting has many challenges and now there is an added layer of complexity because of COVID-19.
I have to confess: for a while I kept myself from reading news and updates. My mind needed a break from the constant updates because there were so many changes and very little that was concrete.

After that break I was ready to learn about the options for my children regarding preschool and school. And in order to try to organize our decisions so they are not emotion-based and well-informed I created a four-step process. I hope it helps you too!

Clarity, Communication, Cleanliness, Compassion

Step One: Clarity
I think the best first step is to get as much clarity, aka information, about your options for your children. Your child care provider or school should keep you informed of the choices they offer and the steps for safety the facility is taking.

I reached out to the preschool my younger son may attend and the school plans to send an email with updated information for school in the fall. The school district where my older son has attended also sent out a large amount of information to parents. It’s a good idea to simply think about and process the information from providers and
schools, and think about your family’s needs, and not make any decisions quickly.

Let me say, it is a good amount to process.

Step 2: Communication
Next is communicating options and needs, within your family, with your employer, and with others who might be involved in taking care of your children.

My husband and I think of our family as a team, and we work together. We have been talking over our family’s needs and options for the fall, and taking time to listen to each other’s concerns. Good communication leads to collaboration, which is always important in any type of relationship, at-home or at-work.

At work, we use the same concept of communication. I found this helpful at work because it helps my co-workers understand what I am juggling at home. My employer is family-friendly and offers flexibility if needed, and I appreciate that.

Collaboration and working together is also be true for any people who support your parenting. This may be friends, family, your pediatrician, and even the local health department to obtain any extra information you need.

Step 3: Cleanliness
When my oldest son went to preschool, his teacher had the children wash their hands when they arrived and recommended hand washing when we got home. I really appreciated that because it’s a basic skill that prevents germ transfers.

Cleanliness does help and make a difference. I like that people are being cautious and sanitizing is a priority. Cleanliness practices help my peace of mind and worries, just like a clean home makes me happy and more at ease.

But, when I read about early learners having to wear masks, and not being able to give their friend a high-five or share toys, it makes me a little sad. That is a good amount for a toddler to process and understand. On the other hand, when I read about all of the cleanliness protocols I thought, “Maybe this is the year my child doesn’t get sick,” because almost every year, my child gets sick within weeks of starting school. But who says my child is going to school? I haven’t decided, yet.

Step 4: Compassion
Finally, there is compassion for everyone involved, especially the care providers and teachers. I have so much compassion for folks like childcare providers who signed up to be an emergency childcare facility to provide a safe place for children. And the school administrators that are making hard choices for everyone. And all of the parents that are doing mental gymnastics to make the best decision possible for their children.

A little compassion goes a long way! Don’t forget self-compassion because being nice to ourselves also matters a whole lot.

There are no right answers because needs vary across the board. My peace is knowing that I don’t have to decided today. I will try my best to enjoy summer and savor every bit of it until I can’t. We got this even if we need to cry sometimes.

After I decide what my children’s education will be like in the fall, I will follow-up my decision with a bowl full of ice-cream.

The 4Cs Recap:

Clarity – Obtain relevant information to help you make and well informed-decision that best suits your family’s needs.
Communication – Clear communication helps with understanding, problem-solving, decision-making, and collaboration.
Cleanliness – Continue to take steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, for guidance click here CDC.
Compassion – Compassion for others and especially self-compassion because making
decisions for your children during this time is not easy.