It’s that time of year, back to school, but things are definitely not the same as in previous years. Your kids are coming off of months of virtual schooling followed by an out of the ordinary summer. How can you prepare them to go back to school while COVID-19 is still going on? How can you get them back into a routine while keeping them cognisant of their new reality? We have some tips and tricks for you!
1. Screen time: while our kids were in virtual school and during the summer, there was excess screen time. It is important that you help your kids get back into the in-person classroom setup. Limit screen time the same way we used to before COVID-19 hit and explain to your kids that while you made some concessions/compromises before, it is important that you limit their use of technology. Try to encourage other activities off screen like sports or art projects. (https://www.cheo.on.ca/en/resources-and-support/resources/P6225E.pdf )
2. Bedtime: during the period of remote learning in the spring and in the summer, bedtime routine for your kids was undoubtedly more “flexible”, 7:00 became 9:00 and in some households even later. Try to get back into your routine of having a set bedtime so that your kids have a lot of energy in the mornings to tackle their school day. They might be resistant to it at first, but hold your ground. Kids benefit from having a consistent schedule, routine and structure.
3. Talk to your kids about parts of COVID-19 life that they enjoyed. For example, if you did more activities as a family, had more family time and meals together, etc. perhaps these are routines you can continue even as your kids go back to school.
4. Schedule: If you had made a schedule for virtual school that was taped up somewhere your kids were able to read, you can continue to this by making a new schedule for them to check every day. You can mark in the time for school, free time, homework time, bedtime so that your kids can continue to have visual reminders of their routine.
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5. Motivate Your Kids: Even though your kids are back to school, life is still not “normal”. Make sure to talk to your kids regularly about Covid-19. Ask them how they are feeling. Talk to them about how their classroom is different. Help them see the positives in being able to see their friends and teachers again. Encourage mask wearing – this can be done by adding stickers or fun designs to masks to make your kids excited about wearing them. It is important that your children do not feel overly stressed but are also aware of the reality of the world and the need to socially distance as much as possible.
6. Separation anxiety: especially for young children who have been home with their parents since the pandemic started, going back to school and being away from their parents can be a tough transition. Try to focus on all the exciting things your children will get to learn while being at school and all the friends they will make. If they are sad and anxious, recognize that you understand this is a big change and you are there for them, but encourage them to give it a chance.
7. Ask for help if you need it! These times are unprecedented and often, we need a little extra help in knowing how to cope. If your child is having a particularly tough time, you can speak to your child’s teachers or guidance counsellor. Another option is to speak to a child psychologist who might be able to connect with your child in a special way.
It is important to remember that we are all doing our best right now. Things are changing every day, remain patient and open with your children. Just remember that communication with your children is key!
Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions or concerns.