After the year we’ve had, with virtual and hybrid learning, working from home, lockdown and isolation, our children may need a little extra support to start the school year strong.
Here are a few ways to encourage them to show up strong – not perfect, but present:
Ask for Help
Communicate to your child that there is never a dumb question and that it is always appropriate to ask for help. The idea here is to make it normal. That means they have to see you do it, too! The year of the Supermom is over. As we step into requesting and getting the help and support we need, this lesson may end up being more caught than taught. Asking for help may look like participation. Encourage them to ask the question in class, let the teacher know the example was not clear and that it’s simply OK to not be OK. And no matter what, we’re here for them.
Set goals but keep them doable
We may be a little rusty with being back in the building for school and/or work. With that in mind, don’t overwhelm your child with having to do it all perfectly. Set small, measurable goals and build from there. Locating classes, getting to know teachers and reconnecting with friends may cause anxiety for some. Allow your child to move as quickly or slowly as needed in order to manage feelings of being overwhelmed.
Have a morning routine
I’m a big fan of both evening and morning routines, but I’ll share here about mornings with one thought in mind: the best morning routines start the night before. Having clothes laid out, lunch made, all homework/backpacks/forms at the door and ready to go can lower stress in the mornings. Having a place for everything can eliminate the “Where is my …” as the school bus is approaching.
Stay in the Know
Make sure your email address, phone number and all contact information is updated with the school office. Things may change quickly, and you want to make sure you are in the know immediately if there is a need to pick up your child or if anything has changed concerning in-school instruction. Also, this is probably not the year to sit out of parent orientation. As we return to in-school instruction, you’ll want to know everything you can about what the plan is now and going forward.
At the end of the day, children are resilient. Many are eager to be back with their friends and in the familiar environment of their school buildings. Keep a close eye on them and remember to ask open-ended questions to check in on them, instead of questions that will get you a simple “yes”, “no” or other one-word answer in response.