Who is ready to return to in-person school this fall? We may be in one of two categories: can’t wait to return to the classroom or more concerned because our child did remote learning all last year. The reality that schools are re-opening and our students will return to brick and mortar this fall is in our near future. Pre-pandemic going back to school was always such an exciting time. The anticipation of finding out who our teacher(s) would be, the fun of school shopping and seeing our friends always set us back on track to return to the classroom.
This new school year will include many of those normalcies. But for many of our children, they haven’t been in a school for over a year. The anxiety that our children may feel could stem from the uncertain outcome of wanting to know if they will be ok at school. Child experts say children may show signs of anxiety when re-entering school this fall.
How do we prepare children to return to the classroom?
Are we as parents ready?
Children take their cues from us as parents, so it will be important for us to be ready for our child’s return to the classroom. We need to emotionally prepare ourselves to let our child go back into school. Having them home under the safety of our wing helped us in such uncertain times. Therefore, we will have to remind ourselves of the positives that our child can achieve by going to school. What we say and our attitude towards the return to the classroom will help shape our child’s opinion also. The strength and confidence that we model will help them when any fear appears.
Be available to talk about it
Now would be a good time to have a family meeting. Let your child ask the questions they have about returning to school. You may not have all the answers, but you can find out their concerns and then get them answers. School personnel work year-round and can answer your questions before school starts – Do we wear a mask? Are classes socially distanced? Does my school offer a New Student Orientation? For example, even if the student is not new to middle school, it may still be all new to them if the last school they attended was elementary and they spent their 6th grade year at home. Attending the orientation to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings can help alleviate first day nerves.
Create some practice days before they return
For many of us the school routine was lost. Many students just rolled out of bed, threw on a shirt and made sure they were on camera for attendance. Preparing for a successful year can be found in small habits. Things like a bedtime and morning routine. Take a few days before school starts to practice what a school morning will include. Make it fun, give prizes to your children for getting it right. Make that morning a time to take them to their favorite breakfast place and then do some school shopping. Creating structure helps them to prepare and succeed once it is GO time.
A big benefit of in person education is collaborative learning and improving social skills. I believe the pandemic taught us the value of human connection and the good news is that your student is not alone. Thousands of children will be re-entering school for the first time since the pandemic began.
What concerns do you have if your child is heading back too school after a pandemic? Let us know in the comments.