There is so much unknown about returning to school this year. COVID-19 really sent educators, parents and kids into a whirlwind this spring. All of a sudden, teachers had to learn how to virtually teach their students, parents had to learn how to homeschool and kids had to learn what school was like without their normal routine and friends. We got through it though. We all came together to help when our kids needed it the most.
But how do we prepare them for the “new normal” of learning post COVID? There are so many unanswered questions in most districts. Will classes be all online, all in person, or a mixture of both? If it’s in person, will masks or face covering be required? How will they social distance? What we do know for sure is that we have to help our kids navigate the “new normal”.
Here are some tips that can help you prepare them for back to school:
Masks or Face Coverings
Make them fun! Find a plain mask and let them decorate it with cloth markers. Making it their “own” will help them get excited about it. Have them wear it around the house a little each day, teach them how to properly wear it by having them put it on their stuffed animals or dolls. Teaching them to touch the ear straps only, pull over the nose and finish by pulling down over the chin.
Help your kids continue to participate in activities that they enjoy which may have been canceled.
- Practice sports in the driveway, back yard, or at the local park.
- Create a concert at home. Or take them to the movies at home. All you need is a plain wall or a large light-colored sheet and a projector. Then find a movie or concert video, grab the chairs and snacks, sit back, and have fun!
- Make a movie with your kids- This is a great teaching moment, without them knowing it. Ask your kids to come up with an idea for a movie from a few thoughtfully planned out ideas that you give them. Maybe something about colors, shapes, cooking, famous artists, or states, depending on age. Then ask them to write the script. Next, everyone needs to memorize their lines. LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION! Before you know it, you’ve captured an amazing memory on video and taught your kids in the process.
Keep Your Routines
There are a lot of things that are really important to children, that parents might take for granted, that the parent has total control over, things like: morning and bedtime routines, getting ready, chores, and mealtime. Those things are really important to kids. So, anything related to schedule, parents can really lean in and provide security, comfort, stability, and consistency on those things.
And last but not least…
Give them Hope
Create a HOPE board. Using a double-sided whiteboard, have your kids write down their; Hopes for the school year on one side and their Hope-to-dos on the other. Hope-to-dos could be going to their favorite snow-cone stand or building a fort. Whatever their imagination can think of! Visit the board weekly, talk about the hopes for the school year. Give them all your attention and validate how they are feeling. It’s important for them to know their hopes and feelings are important to you.
Next, go over the Hope-to-dos and see what you can check off! Challenge accepted to turn your entire living room into one large fantastic fort!
No matter what you do, have fun, and make lots of happy memories during these unprecedented times.