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How To Help Kids Return To School

upset girl in front of chalkboard with return to school written on it

The school year that is about to begin is going to be different than any we have ever experienced. It is not going to be easy on anyone involved — especially the kids. Every state, district, school, class, and even student is experiencing school differently in 2020. As a parent, this can make it really hard to have peace of mind.

You already have enough on your plate without having to worry about whether to send your kids to school or having to become their teacher for some homeschooling. We want to help where we can. So for now, that means offering some tips and information that can help you help your kids transition for the return to school.

Mental Preparation For Your Child

Many children have fears and concerns when it comes to dealing with the unknown. You can help them through this process by talking to them about what things they are looking forward to (playing with friends they haven’t seen in months). You’ll also want to discuss any other questions or concerns they might have. Try these ideas to help your child feel better.

  • Share your experience — If your kids are feeling uneasy about the things that are happening, you likely do as well. You might share with them some of the things that you are experiencing and what helps you to cope. This can help them to know they aren’t alone. It also opens the door for them to share with you.
  • Listen — When you ask a question, just listen to their answer. You don’t need to immediately respond with your opinion or advice. Let them talk through it and they may find their own solution.
  • Take it serious — Your child may have serious concerns about real issues. They can also be feeling stress about something that is no big deal. The important thing to remember is not to belittle their feelings in any way.
  • Work with the school — You don’t have to do it all on your own. There are people at the school that can help. Don’t be afraid to use them. Just let them know what you are worried about and they should be able to help your child with the transition.
  • Cover all the topics — Be sure that you are talking to your child about the little things as well as the big, scary stuff. Take advantage of the opportunities to talk to them about their day, toys, games, or whatever else makes them happy. This will help you maintain a strong bond that will make it easier for your child to communicate with you.
  • Motivate them — Once school begins, show interest in what they are doing, learning, and experiencing. Encourage them with specific praise that will demonstrate to them that you are noticing the effort they are making. 
two kids with welcom back to school above them

How To Prepare For School

It is never too soon to start preparing for what is ahead. School is right around the corner. Here are some ideas to help your family get prepared.

  • Bedtime — Don’t wait until school starts to adjust to an earlier bedtime. About a week ahead of school starting is a good time to start going to bed earlier.
  • Be informed — Your school’s website and/or Facebook page should be the place to get any announcements or changes that you’ll need to know about. This will help you have all the supplies, schedules, and information that you need.
  • Meal prep — Go to the store and stock up on the food you will want for school lunches. Let your kids come along and pick out some of their favorite snacks.
  • Daycare or babysitting — For any children that need supervision before or after the school day, make sure those arrangements have been made.
  • Review session — Get with your child and review some material that they learned last school year. Focus on reading and math. This will help your child be confident and ready to learn.
  • Work a half-day — If you can, it may help your child to have you around before they head off and when they get home from that first day. You could even celebrate the first day with something fun like going for ice cream.
  • Work arrangements — For working parents, it is a good idea to review your employer’s policies for time off. You never know when a child may come homesick or do something else that requires you to have a flexible work arrangement.

If your child needs help regaining confidence and motivation, don’t expect them to change overnight. It will take some time. Be patient and let it happen at their pace.

A Handy Checklist

If you prepare in advance, that first day will go much smoother than if you don’t. This checklist will help make that day easy for everyone.

What To Wear, Bring, And Eat

  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do they need extra clothes for PE or some other class?
  • Do they have a safe backpack that will meet their needs?
  • Are they going to buy lunch or bring it from home? Does the school provide a menu?

Medical Issues

  • Are your kids immunized?
  • Does the school have complete health information and contact information about your child?
  • Is there anything the nurse and teacher need to know about allergies or other medical issues (vision, ADHD, etc) that can affect their learning?

Transportation

  • Where and when do they need to be at the bus stop? When do they get home?
  • What are the school drop-off and pick-up policies?
  • Do your kids know traffic safety for any areas they will use on their way to and from school?

Just 4 Kids Urgent Care

We hope that this helps you get your kids ready to return to school and have a great year. Remember that it is normal for kids to be anxious during a big change. Some kids can even manifest physical symptoms when a new school year begins. It could be something like a headache or stomach issues. If you think they are experiencing something more than back-to-school butterflies, come in and see us. If you have any other questions or concerns about getting your child ready for school, what they should expect when they go, wearing a mask, or anything else — give us a call. We are here to help and will take great care of your kids.

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