My Kids are Going Back to School—How Can I Support Them?
It’s almost back to school in Canada and in several other countries, but the school environment that awaits most students once they return to their classrooms is likely to be much different this time. More adjustments will be needed, and not only in school but also at home.
A lot of parents are worried, and the concerns are valid. Now it’s not only going to be about grades or about what extracurricular activities children might need to try this coming school year. Now it’s also about whether the school environment will be safe, or how the kids will do socially with all the social limitations such as physical distancing. There are even concerns about whether wearing masks might hinder a child’s speech and language development.
If you’re a parent worried about your children’s wellbeing when they go back to school, and if you’re thinking about how you can best support them as they go out of your home and start to reintegrate into society, there are things you can do to keep your children safe and well.
Practical Tips to Support Your Children as They Return to School
Look into their mental health
This is crucial even before your kids actually go back to school. It would be helpful for you to know whether they have any fears and worries. Are they anxious about going out? What do they feel about wearing masks and about social distancing? Do they feel ready to go back to the classroom?
Knowing these things will help you decide how best to approach the situation. This will help you as a parent in providing the proper guidance and advice to your kids. Even though you have little control of the situation outside your home, it’s helpful when kids know that their parents hear them and are on their side.
Communicate with the school administration
Check the school’s policy and its back-to-school guidelines. And if you have specific fears and concerns, share that with the administration to see how they plan to address current issues and challenges that may arise.
You can also communicate and work hand in hand with your children’s teachers to address challenges that are unique to your kids. Most teachers appreciate parents working with them, since most of students’ issues are not confined to the classroom but are often extension of their experiences and challenges at home.
Check how you can help your kids with schoolwork
Constant monitoring is important, especially now that the challenges your kids are facing do not solely concern their studies but also their safety. Disinfecting alone when they reach home from school can eat up a lot of extra time for your kids, time they can use to do homework and prepare for exams. Any help you give them will go a long way.
Here are some things you can do:
- Monitor daily to see if your kids have assignments and projects.
- Set some study time at home, which can also be your bonding time with them.
- Create a study space, with a good desk and chair, some lamp for lighting, and maybe some extra art pieces to spark creativity.
- Make studying fun with games and rewards so that you take off any pressure associated with it.
Remind your kids to practice the basic healthy habits
The COVID-19 threat is still all too real, and students going back to school are vulnerable. Wearing masks and face shields can be so inconvenient. And, it’s easy to forget to practice social distancing and to constantly disinfect when you’re outside. Explain the importance of all of these things to your kids, and remind them that they need to develop healthy habits for their own safety.
Create a happy home environment
At the end of the day, your kids will always go back home to you, and a big part of their wellbeing is determined by their home environment. Make your home a happy home, a place they will always want to go back to at the end of a long and tiring day in school. Nothing beats your love as a parent in making your kids feel safe, even if they’re outside and away from you.
When students go back to school, especially now that we are living in a different world, it is true that it is not only the kids who need to prepare—parents need preparation, too. Know that all your fears and worries are valid, but that you are not helpless. There are things you can do to help your children adapt to going back to school. With parents, children, and the school administration working together, we can all help each other to make things better for our kids.
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