We are approaching the school year with the last thoughts of summer in the rearview mirror. You may be feeling apprehensive, overwhelmed, emotionally taxed or, maybe, pleased with your district’s choice for online learning looming in the, not so, distant future. Now that you know how your child will return to school, it’s all about preparations to get them ready for all that is involved with remote learning. Although they may have experienced a few weeks (or months) of online learning at the end of last year, this school year will look and feel very different from what you, and your child, are used to entirely. Setting your children up for remote learning success requires an outside of the box approach with a high level of compassion for yourself, your child and their teachers. This is new to so many of us, so walk into this new life season with a heavy dose of grace.
Celebrate the first day of school
No matter where the first day of school is taking place, it is a milestone in your child’s life. Celebrate it as you would if they were returning to an in-person setting. Organize their work area together and customize it to their liking so they are excited for the start of the school year. Set a bedtime the night before and make sure to stick to it so they are well-rested for their first day. Let them choose their first day outfit and take photos in a location that they enjoy with a sign or vision board celebrating their latest milestone. Share their first day photos with family and friends to show your child just how proud you are of them. Putting a positive spin on uncertain new circumstances will align their emotions to a positive mindset with excitement for what’s to come.
Stock up on school supplies for home
Preparation is key. Ask their teacher what supplies are needed for remote learning ahead of their first day. Purchase key items that will allow them to complete their studies with no issue. Feeling unprepared brings on emotions of uncertainty, frustration, sadness and negativity. Quickly negate those emotions by allowing them to be part of the process when purchasing supplies and keeping extras on hand to keep them ready to go.
Utilize school-provided resources
If you’re reading through the list of required school supplies, books and technology for the upcoming year and feel overwhelmed and defeated at the cost of all things required, consider reaching out to the school to see what they provide to the child. Often, schools lend out laptops for use during remote learning, along with various other school supplies. Many schools across the country are also offering free or reduced cost meals throughout the remote learning timeline. Check out your school’s options often and pick and choose what works best for your family.
Set a schedule for everything
Kids prosper in routine-based environments. Creating a schedule is key to your child’s academic success, remote or not. Once you have a full list of scheduled classes for the first term, plan out a schedule that works around their assignment due dates, video calls and group-based activities. Type (or write) out this schedule and leave it in a visual space for your child (and you) to refer back to often. Allow a space for your student to check off each completed activity, as this will allow them to feel less overwhelmed and more accomplished. When creating the schedule, make them for one week increments to allow for change as they progress through each week. Schedule wake up times and bedtimes to ensure your children get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Schedule mealtimes and break times as well so that they may see the full outline of their day in front of them. Keeping to a schedule will lessen last minute catchup and added stress on you and your child.
As you begin to follow these tips for your child to thrive in the upcoming school year, don’t forget to keep an open line of communication with your child. Ask them how they are feeling throughout the day, talk to them about what they’re learning and take time to participate in activities with them. Encourage your child to ask questions and put their best foot forward as they begin a new, and very different, school year.