It’s almost time for the kids to return to school! In some places, they're already back! Whether they're going back virtually or in person, being prepared will help ease the transition for everyone.
This school year may feel different than other years as some are returning to the classroom for the first time since the pandemic. Feeling anxious is normal! And for those prepping for virtual schooling again, keeping a normal routine is key. Make a smooth transition back to school for your little ones with these 9 tips.
1. Keep to a Routine
- Mornings can be chaos when trying to get the kids out of bed, breakfast made and yourself ready. Make it easy for everyone by being predictable when establishing a morning routine. This means creating a daily routine with consistent times for bedtime, waking up, breakfast, and leaving for and/or starting back to school. Make a to-do list to stay on top of everything. You can even laminate one for the kids to check off their tasks as well!
2. Plan Lunches
- Prepping and planning lunches for the week will save so much time! Trust us. It may seem like just minutes, but those minutes add up. Planning on giving bags of fruit every day? Create portion bags and you will be able to grab a bag later on - this works for staying home or going to school! Out of creative lunch ideas? Try Pinterest for some inspiration.
3. Get Organized with a Family Calendar
- If you don't already have one, invest in a family calendar! Keeping everything in one place where everyone can see it will keep every practice, test, sleepover, and appointment streamlined. Feeling extra ambitious? Plan a few months in advance and you'll never have to worry about forgetting an event!
4. Ease Back Into Sleep
- Getting back into a school-based sleep schedule can be tough on everyone. Your little ones may give some push back (who wouldn't?) so getting ahead of the change about 1-2 weeks before it starts will make a world of difference. Try starting with transitioning to an earlier bedtime in 15- or 30-minute increments. Try it for a few days then adjust until the whole family is back on a school schedule.
5. Stay Positive
- Your kids react to your mood. Staying positive is the key to ease any stress or anxiety your children may express. Preparing for this will help you come up with ways to cope beforehand. Self-talk can be a great way to avoid your worries and theirs! Another great strategy is to focus on things that are currently going well. Nail that last Zoom meeting? You rock!
6. Be Present
- Especially the first week, be present! Your little ones want stability after a big change and to know that you are there for them. Change is never easy for anyone, so if you sense some anxiety show compassion and create a peaceful environment as they go through it. The best thing you can do is be there for them as you are the most consistent thing in their lives.
7. Make Time for Breakfast
- They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Big-cereal marketing ploy? Maybe. True anyway? Maybe! Breakfast fuels our bodies so we have energy throughout the day. Whether your breakfast is an elaborate buffet feast or simple and consistent, just make sure your little ones include it in their day - whether they're staying home or heading into the classroom!
8. Be Open and Be Honest
- It may seem that being honest and factual with your little one, especially when discussing stressful topics, can lead to more anxiety. But, it is important to address those topics. And, you'd be surprised how much your kids internalize things that are going on around them. Moreover, avoiding topics like COVID-19 can lead to more negative feelings when they do inevitably come up. Still nervous? Time your conversations and tailor your talking points accordingly to your child's age and maturity level.
9. Mentally Prepare
- Help your little one mentally prepare and do so yourself as well. We just went through and are still struggling with a global pandemic. Feelings of anxiety are completely normal and we want to help our little ones cope with them in a healthy way.
Even in these unprecedented times, going back to school is something for your kids to look forward to. Encourage their excitement! We hope these tips help your transition become a little easier. As we all navigate this 'new normal' remember to stay positive and encourage their minds to keep learning!