Tips to Help Your Child Going Back to School
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The last year and a half have seen both parents and children being pushed and challenged in ways that were unimaginable. Adjusting to those changes and now adjusting back to “the new normal” of kids attending school in person, virtual or a mix of the both can be a challenge. The following are a few tips to help ease the stress for you and your child.
1. If possible, two weeks before school starts get them back on a school “Waking-Sleeping” routine. Set an alarm to wake them up at the time they would normally need to be up to get ready for school. Start their bedtime routine when you would normally do so on a school night. Consistency is the key in this step. Ignore any protests and stick to the course. And if school starts in less than two weeks, that’s ok, start tonight!
2. Establish a “screen-free” time prior to bedtime each night. Limit the amount of video games they are allowed to play each day as well. This will prepare them for making time for homework after school starts. You can substitute screen time for reading time with them, or music time. Again doing this two weeks before school starts would be ideal, but if you have less than that you can start tonight.
3. Be patient. Your children may be nervous or anxious and that is normal, even in a non-pandemic year! Listen to their fears and help them come up with a plan to use when they feel anxious to help calm them down. For example, taking 3 deep breaths, closing their eyes and picturing their favorite cartoon character, counting to ten, etc. Be sure to practice with them before they actually need this skill. For instance, right after they come up with a plan take the time to say “Let’s practice this!” After the practice be sure to praise them for coming up with a plan and using it.
4. Do not dismiss their fears. Empathize! For example “It is very scary to be going to school after being home this past year. And I know you have this! Remember your plan!”
5. Last but not least be gentle with yourself. When you make a plan “to calm down” with your child, make a plan for yourself as well. Be kind to yourself. The first few weeks are going to be rough for your child and YOU! Having a plan for those tough moments can be so helpful!
Remember if you have any questions or any “tough” spots you cannot figure out the staff of Welcome Baby (a program of Durham Co-operative Extension) are here to help you. Feel free to reach out to us at (919) 560-7150 and you will be put in touch with a parent educator who will help you navigate these new waters!