6 Tips for Preparing Your Student to Go Back to School
- Parents can prepare for the coming school year by teaching children to adapt to new routines, understand potentially risky social interactions, and cope with worries and anxiety.
- The goal for school systems throughout the U.S. is for classrooms to be open to all students for full-time, in-person instruction; some may continue to offer a virtual option for students and families who prefer it.
- Teaching children to be aware of and responsible for their health and safety is an important way parents can prepare them for the return to the classroom.
- While ambiguity surrounds back-to-school 2021, parents should promote positivity with an open line of communication and transparency.
Parents have much more than a school supply list to prepare for this fall. COVID-19 is still a concern for many. There are several issues to navigate – some older students are fully vaccinated, all younger students are not, and school districts across the country are getting ready for the return of in-person learning.
With COVID still an issue across the world, returning to class may bring ambiguity. The past year was turbulent and difficult for many students. That being said, there are several ways parents can prepare their children for the classroom to make going back a rewarding, positive experience. In this blog we suggest how to begin a routine, talk to your kids about their anxiety, and more.
Start preparing them to go back to school now
The new school year will be here before you know it. Begin talking with your young learner about the prospect of returning to school and revisit the conversation through the rest of the summer. Keep him or her abreast of any updates on school policy changes due to COVID. American Heritage Schools are committed to the health and safety of our students and faculty and we take several steps to ensure our community is safe, including sanitation and following health protocols.
Answer questions your student has and empathize with his or her conflicting feelings. Make sure the lines of communication are open and understand the confusion that your child might be feeling.
Make sure you adjust these conversations according to age. Many of the fundamental guidelines will be the same but older children comprehend more important details and may be a bigger part of the decision-making process. Ultimately, regardless of age, let your child know that you will keep him or her safe and will make the right decisions.
Be transparent and honest
Kids know when adults are not being truthful with them so make sure to have authentic engagements during this confusing and anxious time. Even if you cannot take away the uncertainty of what the new school year will be like, do not disguise it. Ask open-ended questions about your child’s feelings that require more than one-word answers.
Start a routine
Begin to reintroduce school preparation routines. Start sending your child to bed earlier and have your child wake up at the time he or she would get up for school. Make sure your child eats and completes a hygiene routine every morning and night at a proper time. Keep consistency and structure within the family unit regardless of the uncertainty that the new school year brings. Sit down at mealtime as a family and talk about your child’s expectations, worries, and/or excitement for the new academic year.
Wake up your student’s brain
Encourage your child to read and complete summer assignments. The Florida Department of Education provides several resources to support students. Build confidence in your child’s academic ability. Summer reading and learning exercises help children grow in their knowledge and critical thinking skills for the coming year.
Realize anxiety about returning to school is common
This school year will continue to demand that educators and families work together to support learning and provide important services. It’s important to emphasize and model healthy behaviors at home and to talk to your child about preventative safety measures at school.
Also, be flexible and prepare for change. Even if your child starts the school year with in-person learning, it could move to virtual if school closes or if your child becomes exposed to COVID-19 and needs to stay at home.
While there is still some uncertainty about the upcoming academic year, you can prepare your child and allow him or her to express concerns. Let your child know there may still be masks, distance between friends, dividers, and different lunches. The more you can prepare the better.
Don’t forget traditional back-to-school concerns
With the continued concerns and preparation surrounding COVID safety, it’s easy to overlook kids’ traditional fears about starting a new school for the first time, moving up a grade, having new teachers, and/or social circles. Back-to-school season is traditionally a time of mixed emotions – sadness or anger that the summer is over, excitement to see friends and teachers after months away, and nervousness to perform well academically.
These emotions may be heightened during this time. Empathize with your student’s anxiety but stay positive and reaffirming about the new school year. Take your child with you to pick new school supplies to help get excited about the new school year.
It’s difficult to gauge exactly what the classroom will look like when school starts. If you lay the groundwork now for a return to school, it will be much easier to keep a positive, flexible mindset. Children must be brought out of the pandemic in a healthy and supportive way.
For information on our summer education offerings, contact us today.