Going back to school after the summer break is always a transition—but this year the transition is especially difficult. Uncertainty about what the school year will look like, and anxiety about changes such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, may be a worry for you or your kids. While you can’t eliminate uncertainty or change health and safety guidelines, you can help your kids prepare for the back to school transition this fall by staying informed, talking things through, and listening to their concerns.
Learn Your School District’s Back to School Plans
The first step in preparing for the back to school transition is to find out what your school district’s plans are. Many schools are developing a hybrid learning environment, with students alternating days in the classroom and online. Other districts may be planning on starting off the school year exclusively online, while others may feel they can accommodate all students in the classroom with proper safety precautions. Reach out to your children’s school so you can get accurate information and resources to help you plan.
Talk to Your Kids About What to Expect
Once you’ve found out how your school district is planning to handle the coming term, let your kids know how things are expected to work. Talk them through the new daily or weekly routine, and let them know ahead of time about needing to wear a mask in class, sitting further apart from their classmates, or washing their hands more often. If part of their study will take place at home, it’s a good idea to establish expectations for those school days as well.
Talk to Your Kids About Their Concerns
Your kids may have questions or concerns even after you’ve shared what to expect. Ask them if there’s anything more they’d like to know or if they’re worried or nervous about anything. You may not have all the answers, but knowing what your children’s concerns are can allow you to allay their fears and help them develop strategies for dealing with the new normal so that they can do their best work in an uncertain and changing environment.
Remember, even though this transition is hard, you’ve already gotten through the many adjustments that were made in March. You and your kids made it to the end of an especially tough school year—and that’s no small victory under your belt. Keep in mind that you’ve already developed many of the tools you’ll need for academic success, so encourage yourself and your kids to have confidence that you can get the next academic term off to a great start. And if you think you need some extra help dealing with the uncertainty of the coming school year, please get in touch with us. We’re here to help.