Have a safe & successful start of the year
The 2020-2021 school year brings a lot of challenges to students, parents & teachers alike. The only certain thing is …well, uncertainty (had enough of that word already?). If until now, prepping your little ones for school meant shifting the bedtime hour or setting a morning routine for things to go smoothly, this year, anxiety levels reach a new high.
While there still are so many questions about reimagining the education experience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we gathered a few expert (and experience) based advice on how to prepare kids for the upcoming year.
Practice, practice, practice
Before addressing what to expect in a real classroom, talk to your kids about what’s going to be different. Children feel more at ease if they know what’s about to happen.
Even if you don’t have all the answers, it’s best to admit that as well. Address the confusion and all the emotions that come with it and let your children know that despite their eagerness to go back to their classroom, it might not happen. And that’s ok. The power to adapt to new situations is just like a muscle. You have to train it to master it and it’s never too early to start teaching this to your kids.
If, however, your little one will be going back to a classroom, don’t leave small things to chance. Practice some basic things so that your child masters them before heading in a community. Here are some of the most essential skills that will help incoming kindergarten kids and all younger students stay healthier:
🚻 Use restrooms independently
🤧 Blow/wipe nose by themselves
😷 Wear masks appropriately – explain *read renew, repeat, say again, for the gazillionth time* the importance of wearing a mask and how it protects other people from getting sick
🧼 Wash and dry hands – practice a proper handwashing technique, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing
🥾 Put on and take off boots, coats, masks, etc
👟 Shoes: tie/untie (if not able to perform these alone, turn to Velcro or slip-ons)
🆙 Zip/ button up/down clothing items
✍️ Hold pencil properly, without additional help
🥪 Open/ close lunch boxes and other food containers
🚰 Pack a water bottle
🤖 Avoid sharing objects with other students – including water bottles, devices, writing instruments, and books.
Get in touch with the school
The current health situation requires schools and families to work together even more than before.
Your school will have new policies in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your children may also be starting the school year with virtual learning components. School policies may change, extracurricular activities might be limited and most likely, institutions will have a different plan for:
- Communicating with parents if a positive case or exposure to someone with COVID-19 is identified
- A quarantine period in which the entire school is closed
- Effective social distancing
- Reducing the risk
It’s communication and not just a talk, since this needs to be a two-way street. Listening is an active part of parenting, since kids too, just like adults, need to get things off their chest.
Start the conversation with on-point questions made to get your children to open up, like:
- Excited to go back to school? What are you looking forward to about going back to school?
- Which friends and teachers are you excited to see?
- What things about going back to school do you think you will find easy?
- What do you think will be difficult?
Keep the conversation going even after school starts and focus on the good parts, especially on how we can use new situations to learn, explore or adapt easily. Some kids need reassurance more than guidance, so make it a priority to always be there, for a heartfelt one-on-one talk.
Everybody’s new superpower: Re-adjustment
We’ve all been adapting and changing this year.
Plans have been derailed, pants have been forgotten, office settings have been moved to kitchen tables or man caves and eating patterns have changed.
The back-to-school season comes with the need to get back to a routine that makes more sense for the entire family, but, even so, our advice is to take it one step at a time. Start small, with much-needed bedtime hours, prepping a backpack, meals and uniforms. Make your kids part of these preparations.
Factor weekly shopping schedules, dropping kids off to school, homework into the list of things that need to be done differently.
Whether your kids started school virtually, in-person or with you as their teacher, we’re rooting for you! We hope this year is off to a good start!
P.S. any other advice is welcome, so feel free to share your thoughts on the topic!