I think it’s safe to say that back to school in 2020 is stressful. Schools are unsure how they will manage in-person or virtual schooling, parents are unsure what decision to make for their children, and new teaching methods, rules and restrictions may be difficult for kids to adjust to.
However, whether you’ve decided to send your kids back to in-person schooling, chosen distance learning, homeschooling, or some type of hybrid, I hope these 5 back to school tips are helpful!
Back to School in 2020
Transitioning our kids back to school in 2020 will surely look different than most years. However, the basic principles of a successful back to school experience will remain the same. I love how resilient children are and I have a feeling they will adjust better to this new form of schooling than adults will!
For our family, we’ve chosen to move our kids to a new school this year. Our decision was not based on COVID circumstances, but rather the desire to place them into a Christian private school. Since back to school will look different than it ever has before, it felt like the right timing to also transition them to a new school.
Here are five tips we will be implementing with our kiddos to help them, not only transition back to school with COVID, but also transition to a NEW school.
And please note, I am not a family counselor! These are just the methods we’ve used in our own family that have been helpful and work with our kids’ personalities.
1. Analyzing the Unknown
If there is one thing I have experience in, it is new schools. I moved a lot as a child and each new school was scary for me because of the unknown.
Will I make friends? Where is my classroom? What if I get lost in the new school? Who do I go to for help if I need it? Where do I catch the bus?
Or, if you’re child is using a distance learning method, they might wonder: What if I can’t learn easily online? How do I keep up with the work? Will I get to see my friends? How do I get help when I struggle?
No matter what type of schooling you’ve chosen this year, there will be unknowns.
We’ve found it is extremely helpful to run scenarios of the unknown with our children. As we talk with them about their fears, we ask, “Ok, so what would happen?”
For example, they ask: “What if I can’t find my classroom?” My response, “Ok, so what would happen?”
From there, an entire conversation can ensue where we run scenarios of that particular unknown. By the end of the conversation, we’ve discussed several possibilities and how to navigate them.
The majority of the time, their fears are relieved because they begin to understand that their worst fears are the least likely things to occur. Plus, they have some context for what to expect and how to navigate it.
2. Set a Routine
Another way we will be preparing our kids for a new school experience is to set up a new routine.
This could include adjusting wake-up and bedtimes to a school-friendly schedule, preparing clothes and lunches the night before or in the mornings, setting aside time for homework, rest, and play, or developing a school-day schedule that mimics what they have experienced before.
Whether you’re sending your children in person or schooling from home, routines help kids function well. Traditional classrooms have structure so students know what to expect and how to navigate the day. They are a great help in easing a child’s anxiety as well.
One routine our family loves is to pray together before each school day starts. It’s an amazing way to pray over your kids’ fears and get them sent off with a mindset of love and reassurance.
3. Set Expectations
Do your kids know what you expect of them? Do they know what will be expected of them for schooling, no matter the type they are doing?
Sometimes, as adults, we assume that our kids innately know how to act appropriately. But let’s be honest…they really don’t. That’s what we are here for!
It is our job as parents to set expectations for our kids, teach them what is necessary to achieve the expectations, and develop in them the ability to accomplish those expectations independently.
Imagine you were new to a job and your supervisor plopped you on your seat and said, “Get to work.” Chances are, you wouldn’t know where to start, how to work the system, how much you’re expected to accomplish in a day…etc.
Our kids are basically starting a new job each new school year. They need to be guided, trained and coached to meet your expectations for success!
4. Establish Goals
What do you want to see your child succeed or improve at this year? Goals are a great way to motivate kids towards something specific. Of course we want to see our children succeed at everything. But it is more realistic and tangible to set a few specific goals for our kids to work towards.
Perhaps the first week back to school you want to set a goal for your kids that they wake up, get ready for the day and are prepared to learn by a specific time. Or maybe your goal is geared towards helping your student meet an academic standard.
Whatever the goal, make it specific and individualized so your child has something to work towards and be proud of!
5. Set Them Up For Success
Finally, set your kids up for success!
If you’re homeschooling or doing distance learning, try to carve out a space that is specifically geared towards school work. Provide all the necessary supplies early so they can familiarize themselves with the space and feel prepared for success.
This past spring when we were forced into homeschool, I set up a homeschool organization station that really helped us get through our day easier!
If you are sending your student back to in-person schooling, make sure they have the supplies needed or required by the school. I also love to make sure they can attend any open houses or teacher meetings prior to the first day so they feel familiar with their school, classroom, teacher and potential friends!
At the end of this post, I’m rounding up some of my favorite back to school items!
What Not To Do
First, don’t panic.
At least, not in front of your kids. I know so many of us fear the unknown as much as our children do. However, it’s important to lead them in a way that they feel secure! If you’re panicking, they most likely will to.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid to communicate your own feelings in an age appropriate conversation. Kids can be reassured that they aren’t alone when they see that you are struggling with similar fears.
The difference is that you can then talk about how to move forward for success through the fears rather than getting stuck in them!
Second, don’t do it alone.
Everyone is going to need some help this year! Whether you need help with a new homeschool curriculum, getting kids to and from school, or help setting up technology, ask for help!
You’ll most likely find out through asking for help that you aren’t alone in your struggle. And, perhaps you can help someone else in return. We all have strengths and weaknesses and finding a community to lean on is such a blessing.
Back to School Shopping
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite back to school products, plus several pieces that would be awesome for homework stations at home!
Visit my Amazon storefront for 15 of the best home school station accessories!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! At the end of the day, the success of you’re school year will be determined by your attitude and hard work. You’ve got this!