As we consider sending little kids back to daycare so that we can return to work or regain some normalcy in our lives, it is important to keep these five subtle realities in mind as we make our decisions.
Masks will not stay on all day. No matter how much anyone tries, young children will get bothered at some point because they can't breathe well, or because they are hungry, cranky, sleepy or any mixture of the above. Of course, there is always the group of friends with a sense of humor who would find taking off their mask or playing peek-a-boo with it very funny.
Masks will fill up. Young children go through teething phases and they get sick often. This generally means a lot of leaking noses. This is a daycare reality with or without masks. Whether they instinctively use the mask to wipe their nose, take off their mask to wipe their nose (unlikely), or just live with a wet nose/mouth area for a prolonged period of time, we need to think about this as a source of infection and skin irritation at the very least. A solution may be to send several masks, like diapers essentially, but I am not sure how scalable this solution is.
Food/water and masks. What will happen at snack time and lunch time? New water bottle routine? Check new guidelines with daycare if they haven't reached out with this communication yet.
Nap time in masks? Another question for daycare.
Teachers in masks = learning lost? The good: Children will be more encouraged to wear their mask if the teachers are too. The bad: Harder for teachers to teach, discipline, and stay active all day if their breathing is limited. The ugly: Humans, especially young children, depend on facial expressions and body language to learn. If half the face is covered, how will children (and teachers) compensate?
In summary, the "new normal" is still very new. There will be many unpleasant surprises along the way. These five realities don't have to be unpleasant surprises anymore. Instead, they have made themselves known and offered an opportunity to find solutions. They may be subtle enough to overlook, but solving them will make a big difference.