Like so many parents who’ve struggled to balance working from home with virtual schooling during the pandemic, Debra Perlson-Mishalove and her husband were relieved when their two sons, ages 12 and nine, were invited back into their classrooms in Washington, D.C., for three hours a day, four days a week. But while their older son is thriving, in-person school hasn’t been the same reprieve for their nine-year-old.
“We can’t get him out of the house in the morning. He physically will not go,” she says. “He says, ‘I don’t like school.’ He isn’t feeling as successful.” Coaxing him through the door for any reason is tough these days, Perlson-Mishalove adds. “I sense an anxiety about leaving the house.”
And it’s no surprise. It’s been a heck of a year since families embarked on the longest spring break of all time, and kids have had it drilled into them that they’re staying home to keep everyone safe. Many have been pulled away from friends and activities and held inside a protective cocoon where Mom or Dad are within shouting distance.