Back-to-school season, usually a time of fresh starts and new beginnings, is bringing more of the same with extra added anxiety and uncertainty this year due to COVID-19.
This week children across the state started online courses or returned to masked teachers in classrooms and social distancing at the forefront of the concentration of their educations.
What happens in the classroom is yet to be determined with all the changes. Most schools, teachers and students are reluctant at best because of health concerns, lack of personal contact and learning environments that can never come close to pre-COVID-19.
Parents can, however, really make a difference in the way their children adapt and, hence, learn.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Talk to your child about how this school year will be different. Be upfront about the situation and empower your child to make smart choices and do their part to help stop the spread. Things like handwashing, social distancing etiquette, and mask-wearing should be discussed. Having an open conversation and presenting all the facts will make both you and your child feel less anxious.
Create a learning command center. Spend some time creating a space in your home for your child to study or do homework. If you don’t have a spare area, or if you have multiple children who want to work together, create a way to store school supplies in a cart or container that’s portable and can be used at the kitchen table or anywhere.
Build excitement and inspire positivity. While getting mentally prepared for this back-to-school season may be a particularly tough assignment for many people, it still deserves to be celebrated. Consider having a back-to-school themed TV marathon, creating an end-of-summer countdown with construction paper loops, or planning out a special breakfast.
Make face masks fun (and familiar). For those returning to in-person classes, have a mask for every day for your child, and make sure they like the mask and feel comfortable wearing it for extended periods of time. Cloth face masks come in countless patterns and colors, and kids can use them to express their personal style while staying safe. Pro tip: it’s also smart to make sure kids have an extra mask in a plastic baggie every day just in case something happens to the first one.
Tech tools to enhance learning. Students who are starting out the first part of their fall semester online may find themself needing some extra help on assignments, and luckily there are plenty of safe online resources they can use.
Even though the landscape of this year in school is different, a parent’s attitude and support can really make a difference.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your school or teachers for specific ideas that are exclusive to the needs of your child, especially if remote learning tools have not yet been provided or if you have and questions about scheduling.
Have a great school year!