As the summer months start to wind down, most parents are preparing for a new school year. Whether your kids are going to school for the first time, returning to a beloved school, moving to a new one or changing to virtual education, you may be excited for this fresh start.
But you may also be slightly anxious about what the new school routine will look like in the wake of COVID-19 and the many changes the virus has imposed on our routines of the past. Some kids look forward to a new school year filled with new teachers, friends, supplies clothes and academic challenges, while others are more apprehensive.
And with potentially changing school schedule and rules surrounding social distancing, mask-wearing and increased hand washing, even the most confident kids may experience some level of worry about entering school once again. So consider these tips to help your kids feel prepared and empowered to enjoy school again, safely.
Healthy Transition Tips for Kids
Take your kids back-to-school shopping online for new clothes and supplies. Also stock up on easy-to-pack lunch items that boost the mind and body, such as whole-grain cereal, granola bars and fruit.
If you’re doing virtual education, help your child become familiar with new technologies before school starts. Having everything stocked and ready will boost the confidence of the whole family.
Connect Them with Friends
If your kids are attending a new school, connect with other parents and try to set up virtual play dates so the kids can get to know some classmates before school starts. Ask the school to recommend local clubs or groups that your kids could safely join to meet potential classmates, too. Learn about what the school and groups are doing with safety measures to protect kids while encouraging fun.
Practice Your New School Schedule
Start setting an alarm well before the first day of school so your kids can adjust to the new wake-up time in advance. If your kids are attending a new school, see if they are promoting any virtual tours so your kids can meet the teachers and know what to expect on the first day. Every little thing you can practice, from locker combinations to knowing the route to the bus stop, will help your child relax when the big day comes.
Model a Positive Attitude
Keep your own anxiety about school starting to yourself and focus on the fun opportunities that a new school year brings. In addition, be available and open to listen to any worries your kids may have, and offer support through the transition to a new school year.
It's also important to model safe social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene so your kids will continue these behaviors in school when they are not by your side.
Outline the steps your kids will need to take to get ready for school each day and place the list in an easy-to-see spot, like the front of the refrigerator. Your list might include getting dressed, eating breakfast, packing a lunch and brushing teeth before leaving for school.
Get a Health Check-up
Whether your child’s school requires a school physical or not, it’s a good idea to check in with his or her pediatrician for a health check-up to start the year out healthy and strong. This is a good opportunity to talk to your child’s pediatrician about school nutrition, sports or any other concerns that you have regarding COVID-19 or other health issues.
Have an Emergency Plan
Preparedness brings peace of mind. Download and print an emergency contact card that your child can keep in their backpack. It allows you to list important phone numbers, medical allergies and more so your child and their teachers know who to call in case of emergency.