While plans are moving forward to resume an in-person school session for the 2020-21 academic year, those plans may be revised before the school doors open in the final days of August. But whether classes resume inside the walls of school buildings across Connecticut or continue within homes, these tips will help the entire family get back in the swing of school time.
Utilize mental prep tactics
Care.com offers 101 back-to-school tips for families including these excellent transitioning tips—
- Set the kids’ sleep schedules back to “school time” a week or two before the first day of school.
- Talk openly with your kids about their back-to-school feelings, answer their questions, and encourage them to come to you with any concerns.
- Discuss what they can expect on the first day of school, so they feel more prepared.
Harness the power of routine
- Marisa Lascala suggests the use of a routine chart to assist children with adjusting to a new routine. “Each year brings its rhythm with it, and it takes some practice before you get in the groove. To make the transition easier, spell out exactly what’s expected of your child in the morning and when they come home with a routine chart. Knowing their responsibilities will help them take to their new routine faster.”
- Establish a homework routine from day one. A firm, consistent afterschool schedule will help to deter procrastinating. Firm -meaning no arguing, whining, or pouting, yet realistic in the approach. Consider a 20-minutes on, five-minutes off set-up. “On” time for getting down to business followed by “off” time to grab a snack, let some physical activity work off extra fidgetiness, or chill time to rest the brain and eyes. Repeat until all the books and papers are ready to be packed back up.
Organize the home for the busy season
Because a household that abides by “a place for everything and everything in its place” will make smoother sailing for the school season.
- An established corner or closet for coats and shoes.
- A designated shelf/counter/area for lunch boxes, backpacks, and gym bags.
- An “inbox” for permission slips or anything that parents “must-see.”
- A larger tote or box for assorted papers that don’t require immediate attention.
Reinforce good hygiene practices
As the pandemic has drawn out, people of all ages may have grown a bit lax when it comes to the recommended precautions and safeguards. Such behavior even has a name: caution fatigue. When the threat was new and urgent, a drive toward self-preservation motivated folks to adhere eagerly. But as time marched on, some hygiene practices, such as washing hands for a full 20 seconds, slid to the back burner.
“Understanding the importance of good hand hygiene is one of the most essential things your child should know when heading back to school,” notes Dr. Jarret Patton, pediatrician, and CEO of DoctorJarret in eastern Pennsylvania. “Use the summer as a training ground for proper handwashing while teaching your child how germs can spread by touching objects or other people.”
While the beginning of a new school year always brings with it a myriad of emotions, the 2020-21 session will toss a host of new feelings into the back-to-school book bag—all the more reason to ready parents and students alike to have a great year.
The team at A.R. Mazzotta salute students, parents, and educators across Connecticut as they embark on another year of learning. (And if that learning includes a new job for mom or dad, check out our job board.)