The 2020-2021 school year is fast approaching. As parents, in any other year, we’d be encouraging our children to get their folders, calculators, and pencils together and confidently planning our fall—but not this year. Most of us are trying to wrap our heads around either remote or hybrid learning, and we’re all bracing ourselves for change as phase 1 moves into phase 2 or as open schools are forced to close their doors once more. While we can’t know the entirety of what the school year has in store for us and our kids, there are some actions we can take now to help things run smoothly, no matter what happens next.
For many of us, we’ve strayed quite far from a typical school schedule and responsibilities. Consider a slow shift back. Move wake-up time 15 minutes earlier each week. Talk with your children about how your family will manage the fall schedule and begin to implement pieces of it so that everyone can incorporate individual elements slowly rather than in one giant leap on day one of school.
Act normal and look for the good
Lots of established norms can still happen this year. If your family takes first-day-of-school photos, keep the tradition going. Normalizing this time can help lessen children’s anxiety. As parents, we set the tone for how our children interact with education, so it’s important that we frame things well. When you have the energy, try to even take things a step further with positivity: it’s really pretty amazing that we can do school from our computers! Try to find the good, even the great, in this unique time and vocalize it. Encourage your children to do the same.
For your sanity and for the success of your children, try to avoid letting learn-from-home days slip into total chaos. Keep bedtimes reasonable so that sleep schedules can be healthy. Pack lunches so that you don’t all have to stop in the middle of the day and figure out who’s eating what. Ask about what your kids learned or what a highlight of their day was both on the days they go to school and those where they study in their room. This consistency helps establish that school is school regardless of where children experience it.
Create a home study space
In addition to all of the organizational considerations when setting up this space, take the time to help your child really make the space theirs. Let them decorate the area around it with images they like or inspirational quotes. If possible, consider investing in one or two tools that will feel special to your child and encourage good habits. Here are some of our favorites for the fall.
Have a plan
Better yet, have a few plans. If your school district has phases, consider putting together daily or weekly schedules now for each phase so that your family can transition more easily between them. If you aren’t dealing with phases, a loose plan for hybrid, fully in person, and fully remote likely makes sense. Whatever plan you have, set aside a consistent time each week to assess and be prepared to adjust accordingly. What went well? What didn’t go well? How will you adjust next week? Accepting that change is the new normal will lessen everyone’s stress.
While it can be frustrating not to know how this fall will unfold for families, remember to try and control what you can, plan ahead, and stay flexible. For more suggestions or personalized help preparing for this fall, contact us.