Jeff Garigliano

Relationship to Sheridan: Parent ’23

Why I serve: My family feels extremely lucky to be part of the Sheridan community and serving on the Board of Trustees is my way of giving back.

Years on the Board: 4

As you deliver the news to your children, you may be feeling a range of emotions, too. I know I certainly am! Take time to process the news with a partner or friend first so you’re able to be reassuring and positive when you talk to your kids.

Children look to their parents and caregivers to gauge how they should react to a situation. If their parents seem alarmed, they’re going to feel less secure and more anxious. If their parents seem hopeful and project calm and optimism, they’re going to feel better and do better. They’ll also be more likely to confide their insecurities or concerns if they think you’re in a good place. Kids are protective of their parents when they sense they’re not at their peak.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be authentic. Listen carefully to their concerns and validate how they’re feeling. You might say, “I’d be pretty disappointed, too, if I couldn’t see my friends in school.” Encourage them to share what worked, what they liked or what they learned about themselves during the last round of distance learning. There certainly were positives for some kids. If you focus on what’s lacking, they’re going to absorb that attitude. Ask them if they have any questions or ideas for how to make it a terrific experience for themselves and their classmates.

Help them understand that the situation isn’t permanent (use “when” language rather than “if” language–Ie, WHEN you’re back in the classroom.) Focus on everyone’s efforts to ensure they have the best, safest experience possible. Tell them that everyone in the school can’t wait to see them and hear about their summer and learn and play together, and that you’re proud of them for doing their part to keep everyone healthy.

Emphasize that back to school this year and every year is a big deal. If you normally buy a special backpack, consider having them pick out something for their “home classroom.” If you normally take back to school photographs, take them this year, too. If you call a relative or special friend at the end of the first day, do that this year, too.

Also, take advantage of virtual get-together activities so they can “see” their friends and/or meet new ones before school starts.

If you or your child have any specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, their teacher or an administrator. We all want to make this a wonderful and memorable year for all the students!

2020-2021 Committees: Committee on Trustees, Finance

Day Job/Profession: Business writer and editor

Hometown: Bayport, NY

Fun fact: My birthday is Jan. 1. It’s the best birthday — a holiday every year so I always have the day off!