The 2020-2021 school year was unquestionably one for the record books. With lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak, many school children did not have a normal year. Well, with the return to regular brick and mortar education for many, it can seem a bit daunting and cause anxiety for parents and children alike. Here are a few tips from the experts to help prepare kids for going back to school.
1. Reintroduce their regular school routines.
Author and parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi said in an interview with HuffPost UK, that one way parents can help prepare their kids is to reintroduce their regular school routines.
“I always recommend parents start reintroducing routine before the end of the summer. This helps to ease their children back into meal and bedtimes that are more in line with when they’re back at school – but this year, it’s going to be even more important than ever.”
Joshi added, “If you have let routine slip into being very relaxed, I’d be looking to bring things back a good week before the start of year. Do it gradually, and it’ll be less stressful for you all by the time term starts and the alarm clock returns!”
2. Focus on the positives when talking about school.
After the school year that many kids had last year, focusing on the positives of the upcoming year will help ease them back into the swing of things, even if things this fall will still be a little different than pre-COVID.
“If they look concerned about it all, remember to focus on the positives – the things they’ll still be able to do, not just the things that they can’t do at the moment,” Joshi said.
3. Role play.
If you can’t quite figure out how your child is feeling about returning to school, for the younger ones, role playing may just help more than you think. Child psychologist, Amanda Gummer, said in the same interview as Joshi that, “Toys provide a layer of protection for the kids when it comes to revealing how they’re feeling, because they can pretend it’s about the bunny – not them. You can address real issues, without being too emotive.”
4. Reiterate the importance of hand-washing.
Making sure that your child keeps their hands clean and washed regularly will help them stay healthy while out and about. If the little ones need a reminder on just how to successfully accomplish that, here is one of their favorite tunes to remind them.
5. Let them lead the conversation.
Gummer recommends that you have age-appropriate conversations with kids and let them lead the conversation.
“Let them know it’s okay to ask questions and it’s alright if they’re feeling nervous about school. Play games, read books, and give them plenty of opportunities to talk through any concerns. Be aware if you’re expecting them to be anxious, you might interpret what they’re saying in a more complex way, so let your child direct the conversation.”