Starting back to school is always a challenge after the long summer break, but with the disruption and confusion that Covid 19 has brought, this year is going to be a little more difficult. For some, it may be the first time back at school in a very long time.
There are literally thousands of school districts in the US, and with each one being governed by both local and state rules, different students will have had different experiences. Wherever you are at as a family, the following advice will help you to start the new school year in confidence.
Talk about expectations at school
If your kiddo is starting school for the first time, or even if they are going back to a familiar setting, it is helpful to talk with them about a typical school day. Share any information you have and what is going to be expected. For example, look at the behavioural expectations, what types of food they might eat and how the day is structured. Try not to overload or frighten young kids but being prepared will help them to ease into school life.
Get on a Routine
Setting routines is beneficial to everyone, for you as parents and for the children. It helps kids feel safe and secure. When life has a predictable structure, anxiety lessens. You don’t have to set a timer on your watch or anything like that but have a set pattern in the day. This will mean that children know what to expect and may even start to do some things themselves, without being prompted (we can always dream, right?)
Children that have a routine feel calmer and are better able to cope with changes in other parts of their lives. Being able to rely on a secure routine at home will have an impact in all areas of their lives. It also helps children learn how to do this for themselves, and it will make the transition back to school a little easier.
Before and after school routine - Mornings
Think about the things that need to be done before and after school. Maybe write them all down. Then look at the needs of the whole family, and structure a routine for the school day. It is helpful to get as much done as possible the night before. Lunches made, breakfast things out and getting school clothes ready to wear in the morning will make things run more smoothly.
Try to prep for the week if possible. Plan easy lunches that are nutritious. Check anything that needs looking at for the next day, if there are any forms or tasks that need to be handed in. Try to get the kids involved so that you don’t have to do it all yourself.
After school routine
Structure the evening so that homework is done at a certain time. A predictable, relaxed routine in the evening can incorporate things like eating together as a family, a bit of downtime, homework and getting ready for bed.
The importance of play in the school day
Make sure kids have time to be themselves and talk and play with friends. Yes, some children are behind with learning but if they are forced to learn all day it will just overload them, and they will become unhappy and uncooperative. Play also helps kids to unwind, relax and get a good nights’ sleep.
Make sure that the evening routine includes down time before bed, and no screens if that can be helped. It’s a good idea to start this a week or two before school starts. If bedtimes have gotten later than usual during the holidays, gradually bring them back to an earlier time before school starts.
We’ve been through a really difficult time with Covid, and this has hit kids very hard. Some have been severely affected. The best thing you can do for your child is to provide a calm routine and a stable environment to help them reacclimatize to the new school year.
It could be a bit rocky at first and the kids may get tired. But keep with the routine and keep talking to them. Afterall, at Kennis Korner ‘we want to see your kids happy’. We really hope these tips helped. Please comment below if you have any more tips to share.