Back to School: Helping Your Kids Succeed | Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist

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This post is sponsored by our friends at Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist. All opinions are those of the author.

This summer has been one for the books. After a year of distance learning that also included a move, our family needed some rest, relaxation, and adventure. So we loaded up the van and hit the road! We spent a couple of days in Montgomery, AL with a stop in Selma on our way to our final destination in Jackson, MS. It was a fun and meaningful trip for us as we talked about and visited a handful of sites where history was made during the Civil Rights Movement (I can’t help myself, I was raised by a teacher!). We even took a spontaneous trip into New Orleans for some coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde and promised ourselves to get back there someday. 

Lynda and her family at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans (Back to School: Helping Your Kids Succeed | Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist Lynda Lantz Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
About to enjoy some coffee and beignets in New Orleans

Now, just a few weeks later, we’re in full-on back-to-school mode. With my son about to start 3rd grade and my daughter beginning VPK, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to set them both up for success this year. Here are a few ways we can prepare our kids to succeed when they return to the classroom:

Physically

Back-to-school season is a great time to get back into some of the healthy rhythms of life–early bedtimes, earlier wake times, and re-establishing our routines. This year, my husband had the idea of practicing the school routine so that the kids will know what to expect on school mornings. So we tried it! We set the alarms, had them get up, get dressed, brush their teeth, and eat breakfast. Then we drove them to school. We reminded them how dropoff was going to go, and then talked them through some of the logistics of pickup. We’ll do this a few more times as the first day of school gets closer so that they can feel confident with their morning school routines.

If your child will be wearing a mask at school, it may also be a good idea to have them wear their masks for increasing periods of time. This will help lessen some of that first-day anxiety. It’s also a good time to revisit proper handwashing, using hand sanitizer, etc. Especially since they will be responsible for their own hygiene while they’re at school.

Lynda and her kids wearing their masks (Back to School: Helping Your Kids Succeed | Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist Lynda Lantz Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Having your kids wear their masks for increasing periods of time can help them prepare to return to school

Mentally

I personally believe that it’s important for kids to have a break during the summer. But it’s also important for them to begin reviewing some of the skills they learned the previous year. One of the best ways to engage their brains in a fun way is through reading! Surprise them with some good books from the library and unleash their imaginations. For the littles, grab some picture books and read with them. Or for older kids, have them read aloud or share about what their reading during dinner. It’s fun and educational for the whole family!

It’s also a good idea to talk together about what to expect in the classroom. The world we’re living in has a lot of unknowns. But talking through different situations can help us all be better mentally prepared.

Emotionally

Preparing our kids emotionally for the start of school is equally important. As I think about preparing my kids emotionally for re-entry, I want to build their confidence and encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling. Going back to school during a pandemic is hard. And it’s something we, as parents, never had to do! I want them to know that their feelings matter and that we as their parents are always here for them. 

A yellow paper heart (Back to School: Helping Your Kids Succeed | Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist Lynda Lantz Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Little mementos like this paper heart can help our kids overcome separation anxiety

One of the biggest challenges–especially for my 4-year old–will be separation anxiety. Before COVID, she had no problem going into childcare settings without me. But after being home with us for almost a year and a half, going into a full-day classroom setting will be tough. To help her feel more secure, I plan to give her a little token or memento she can keep with her during the school day. Before school starts, I’m going to trace our hands on some construction paper and cut them out. Then I can put my hand in her backpack, and keep hers in my purse so that we can hold each other’s hands throughout the day. I’ve also seen some moms do something similar with matching bracelets, necklaces, or paper hearts. And, who are we kidding?! It will probably help me too.

Best Wishes From Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist wishes you and your family a safe, happy, and healthy return to school! As you establish an oral care routine for your infant and help your older kids improve their dental hygiene habits, Dr. Bob and his team are here for you. 

Back to school season is a great time to schedule your child(ren)’s dental exams and cleanings for the upcoming year. Dr. Bob’s office is conveniently located in South Miami, and he and his team always aim to provide the exceptional care your child deservesCall the office at 305-397-8214 or click here to schedule an appointment today. You’ll be glad you did… and it’ll be one less thing on your back-to-school to-do list 😉

For more on preparing our kids to go back to school after a pandemic, check out this post from one of our contributors who is also a school administrator!

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