Preparing for the new school year often requires checklists, including gathering school supplies and finishing up reading lists. This year, with the transition to virtual or hybrid classes, these lists may look a little different. Without a school building to go to, a schedule to follow and built in social interactions, families may need to build new routines. Below are some tips to help prepare for these changes in the upcoming school year.
- Reflect: Set aside time to talk with your child. Think about the benefits and challenges that came up for him or her during last year’s transition to virtual learning. Then, you can come up with a plan for ways to best support your child during this coming year. Remember to make this an ongoing conversation, with opportunities to discuss difficulties with this challenging start to the school year.
- Create a routine : Building a consistent routine can help create a sense of normalcy. Making a schedule that allows for leisure time, physical activity, and hobbies can break up the day and help kids maintain focus. Include due dates for assignments in your calendar to help kids keep track of their work.
- Make an at home “classroom”: If you have the space for it, set up a workspace at home (either in a separate room, or just a quiet corner) to separate the school day from the rest of the day. Having a comfortable and quiet space can help minimize distractions. To help your child stay in the school frame of mind, keep the space well lit and equipped with all necessary school supplies.
- Facilitate time for physical activity and social interaction: With the transition to virtual learning, kids will be losing time in school dedicated to physical activity and socializing. Planning socially distant activities with friends and family, and active events, such as playing outside, or taking regular walks, can help integrate these aspects into your child’s day.
- Leave space for checking in: The start of a new school year can always bring new challenges, and this year there will likely be added stress with the switch to hybrid or virtual. Regular check ins will allow you to gauge how your child is doing with these changes, so you can help them cope with these challenges as they come up.