The back-to-school season is always a stressful time for families, but 2020 has presented some very unique challenges. With the current focus on social distancing, hygiene and isolation, navigating our “new normal” is especially hard for kids and parents.
If you have kids going back to school this season, follow these tips to keep your sanity — and sanitation — in order.
#1 Be a Role Model
As a parent, you already know the importance of leading by example, but with the safety of yourself and your entire family on the line, there’s no better time to put it into practice.
You can be a healthy role model for your kids by:
- Getting plenty of sleep and taking breaks during times of stress
- Continuing to exercise and eat well for your body and mind
- Staying socially connected in a responsible manner
Remember, the pandemic represents more than a potential virus. It puts an immense amount of emotional stress on us all, so you should emphasize self-care and stress management to everyone in your household.
#2 Give Them Coping Tools
Growing up is hard enough, now the pandemic has made things even tougher, particularly for younger kids who may not have a full grasp of what the pandemic means for them in the short and long-term.
For this reason, you should check if your school plans to help children adjust to their new normal and what that plan is. For instance, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs along with peer support groups, responsible socializing, in-school counseling, and other tools are critical to their wellness.
If their school doesn’t offer such things, you should find ways to give them to your kids yourself, even by means of an online course.
#3 Attend All Meetings
It’s easy to feel anxious as a parent, especially during these unsure times. One thing that you can to do lessen your own anxiety is stay informed. Keep on top of what the school system is doing to keep your kids say and attend all meetings related to the school’s decisions on re-opening, distancing, and other practices.
Being involved with these meetings will help you know first-hand exactly how your kids are interacting and how they’re expected to interact. This will also help you communicate with them at home and ensure they’re being responsible and upholding those standards.
#4 Check-In Regularly
Your family should go ahead and establish regular check-ins to ensure everyone feels well. Be extra cautious if anyone is experiencing symptoms and be proactive about informing their school’s staff. Their school will likely advise any student to stay home if they have any symptoms or someone else in their household does.
By following these tips, you and your family will be able to keep safe and healthy while adapting to our changing way of life. Regardless of the specific practices their schools have adopted, make sure you stay involved and connected so you’re kept in-the-loop throughout the beginning of the year and beyond.