This year, back-to-school season is all about getting ready for a school year that promises to be unlike any other.
Here’s our guide to helping your child prepare for the new school year in these unconventional times.
Talk to your child about what to expect
The more your child knows about the dynamics of the upcoming school year, the better off they’ll be. As the situation evolves, and you learn more details about the year’s schooling, speak to your child about what to expect.
Create a back-from-school protocol to keep your home safe
If your child will be going back to school full-time, or even partially, it’s important to establish a sanitizing ritual for them to adhere to when they walk through the front door after school each day.
“When children return from school, they should immediately sanitize their hands,” advises board-certified pediatrician Dr. Candice W. Jones. “Once at home, at the very least, they should remove clothes/shoes and place them in the laundry, or a designated safe place for disinfecting. A shower would be great, but is not necessary.”
Zoom in on remote schooling
Dr. Linda Carling, an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, shares these tips for helping children succeed at remote learning:
Encourage movement. Squeeze in some stretching breaks throughout the school day and pencil in larger chunks of time for longer exercises.
Reduce distractions. Create a distraction-free zone for your child’s learning to help boost their focus.
Adjust your schedule as needed. If possible, adjust your schedule so you can be on hand to help your child with their remote learning as necessary.
Provide immediate positive feedback. Each time your child successfully follows instructions, provide immediate and positive feedback.
Help your child prepare for face mask-wearing while at school
It’s best to start with modeling positivity. Though you may find it difficult to wear a mask yourself, you can help your child build up a positive attitude about mask-wearing by talking to them about how your mask is keeping you and others safe.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to practice mask-wearing at home. This will help your child grow accustomed to wearing a mask and help to ensure your child is wearing it correctly.
Make mask-wearing easier for the sensory child by finding the most comfortable style, whether that’s a classic ear-loop mask, a bandanna-style covering, or a neck gaiter. Extenders or button headbands can also be a welcome relief for irritated ears.
Finally, make masks fun again by choosing a child-friendly pattern. You can go with these adorable bear face masks from Amazon, have your child design their mask on Etsy, choose an extra breathable and lightweight mask from Athleta or pick out a mask featuring your child’s favorite movie character from Disney.