A ‘Back to School’ Guide for Parents
As September is quickly rolling around, parents and children are preparing for the busy back to school season! With every school year, there’s always apprehension from kids to get back into a routine and with the COVID-19 situation, parents may be feeling some anxiety as well. Fortunately we’ve compiled a ‘back to school’ guide to unburden some of that stress and make things a little easier to navigate!
Acknowledge your own feelings: It’s understandable why some parents may be feeling apprehensive about a September return to school for students. But rather than bristle in your anxieties, accept the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation and do your best to prepare your child for their return to the classroom. Have a frank ‘age-appropriate’ discussion with your children about the importance of following school health regulations, and make sure you’ve stocked up on plenty of masks and sanitizer for your child to have at the ready. At this stage, you can only do your best in a situation with no clear-cut answers, but educating your child on how to protect his or herself will do wonders to set your worries at ease.
Get back into routine: Sleeping in and staying up late is a perk every child loves to take advantage of during summer vacation. With back to school only a few short weeks away, now is the best time to start re-establishing your child’s regular sleeping schedule. This means reasonable bedtimes and earlier mornings. Try easing your child back into the routine by building in activities that will help them unwind for the evening, like a bath or story time right before bed. Also start earlier mornings with breakfast together and maybe a trip to the park to get them excited to begin their day.
Start shopping and getting organized: Go into shopping with a plan of action and a list of supplies you need to keep your child organized. Establish a designated simple system for each subject, whether that is individual binders for each subject’s notes and handouts, or one large binder with colour coded dividing tabs. Purchase an organized backpack with plenty of compartments and room for a computer, binders and notebooks, pencil case and other supplies. Also familiarize yourself and your children with any online resources the school may be utilizing before they begin classes.
Validate your child’s worries and reassure them: It’s important going into the new school year that your child feels supported emotionally. Take time before your child’s first day to acknowledge how they’re feeling and reassure them that their feelings are valid. Inform them that they have support at all angles, from you at home and from teachers in the classroom. Knowing they have someone to turn to when they are feeling anxious will help ease some of their fears and make it easier for them to assimilate to all the changes.
Encourage independence and healthy choices: Involve your children in some way in the decision-making when it comes to choosing healthy packed lunches and snacks. If your child is younger, also allow them some creativity in choosing their own outfits or lay out options for them to choose from. Giving your child more freedom to make their own decisions is an excellent way to encourage their independence going into a new school year.
Make it an event: Getting your child eager to get back to school can be hard, so why not make it an event to get them excited about their return. Try hosting a back to school party for your children and their friends with fun games and prizes that encourage educational play! You can also go more low-key with your celebrations and do a family night out with a movie and dinner!
The back to school season doesn’t have to be a stressful. It’s all a matter of tackling the steps listed above and giving your child the confidence they need to face this new school year with ease!