As the schools announce their reopening plans, the anxiety surrounding this year’s end of summer and back to school plan is unreal. As parents, we are stressing…big time. If we are stressing, imagine how our kids feel. If you’ve kept them up to date on current events, they probably have a ton of questions about what school is going to look like this year. For each family, it looks different. Whatever decision you make, here are some tips to ease the school year worry.
If you are sending them back to school…
So you made the decision to send them back through the doors of school, and it wasn’t easy. Be sure to explain the school’s plan and what the school year is going to look like. Talk to them about not sharing supplies and frequent hand washing. Practice covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze and washing hands afterwards. Have them help pick out sanitary supplies like masks, sanitizer, hand soap, and lotion so that their hands don’t get dried out from all of the washing.
If you are doing virtual learning…
It isn’t going to be the type of “back to school” you are used to and keeping them home wasn’t the easy decision. Every decision right now is so hard, but safety is a priority. Masks won’t be on your list for school supplies, but picking out a pair of blue light glasses will be fun. Scheduling some Zoom calls with your child’s group of friends might make the transition easier. Get up and get ready at the same time every day—it will help them feel more productive keeping a routine. Take a “recess” every few hours and let them get some fresh air. Pack lunches just like you always did so they have a dedicated time for eating and it is quick, easy, and accessible.
If you have chosen to homeschool…
You’ve decided to take this massive leap into home school, which means back to school is a totally different thing. Now you get to learn alongside your kid. What an experience. Explain to your kids that this will be a journey for both of you. Get a good routine going and take breaks for fun. Plan field trips to get out of the house. You can do “life skills” classes where they get to learn how to plan meals, shop, do laundry, clean dishes, etc…hey, this might work out in your favor after all! There is always time to do some nature lessons or figure out ways to incorporate math into everyday life. With the many home school curriculums and resources to choose from, give your child the options and have them help you decide which fits them best.
Any way you do it, keep the lines of communication open.
Talk out the decisions you have made for the back to school this year. Make sure you are aware of their concerns moving forward. Try to relieve their worries and be understanding. This is a weird time for all and communication is key when it comes to our kids’ mental health. Ask them what will make them more comfortable with the year.
Whatever you choose we know you are choosing what’s best for your family, and we know that it was difficult. We have to be courageous as time moves forward and make these decisions without fear of judgement. You deserve a gold medal just for deciding. Remember to take care of yourself this school year and give yourself grace. You are doing a great job, mama.