As the 2021-22 academic year draws near, uncertainty looms over parents, teachers, administrators, and, perhaps most importantly, our kiddos.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to adapt to what, at times, has felt like the unadaptable. And yet, we are here! Still standing. Or maybe even a bit hobbled over! 🙂
Beyond questions and concerns about the physical health and safety of our children, this back-to-school season spotlights yet another transition from one unknown to the next.
Given this, how do we best prepare kids socially, emotionally, and academically?
Here are some tips and tricks you can use with your child to get prepared:
Validate back-to-school nerves: After spending unprecedented time at home for over a year, kids (and adults!) may face an upsurge in anxious feelings about spending time apart. Instead of dismissing or trying to minimize your kiddo’s anxiety (e.g., “You’re fine! Stop worrying!”), allow them time and space to express their feelings. Help them talk through it and be honest and encouraging about your own feelings, while also setting a positive tone about the future.
Establish clear routines: Even in a pre-COVID world, routines were central to helping kids excel. After a year of not having to leave the house or make it to homeroom by the time the bell rings, your kids and family may be a bit rusty on what a “regular” routine is like. Establishing a consistent back-to-school routine now will be more important than ever before. Creating and sticking with a routine that eliminates the added burden of daily decision-making will help you and your family feel your best.
Create a morning checklist: Let’s face it, heading back to in-person school requires way more remembering! Folders, papers, pencils, assignments, lunch- you name it! That’s a lot of things to collect and pack, especially during the mayhem otherwise known as getting out the door. To smooth over the morning madness, create a daily backpack checklist with your child. Use a whiteboard or colorful sticky notes so they won’t forget any essentials.