General Wellness

Making the Best of Back to School

Distance learning, hybrid or in-person – as school districts across the country determine their fall plans, many parents are left concerned or scrambling when it comes to managing education, jobs and family schedules.

Whether you are delighted with your district’s plans or less than thrilled, the following tips can help you make the best of your current back-to-school situation:

  • Focus on the positives with your kids. If they hear you complaining or bemoaning your school’s plans, it won’t likely lend itself to a great start to the year. Let them know you’re happy you’ll still get to see them several days a week or that it’s great that they will get to see friends again.
  • Ask them what they are thinking. It is important to dig a little deeper to understand how your kids are feeling – excited? Anxious? Uncertain? Do your best to listen and respond accordingly.
  • Mask up. If your kids are returning to school, don’t wait until the day of to start masking up for longer periods of time. Encourage kids to wear masks for the morning, during screen time or for a couple hours before bed, for example, to get them into the habit. You might try different options as well to determine which ones are most comfortable for your kids. Likewise, encourage hand-washing throughout the day and remind smaller children why they shouldn’t be touching foreign objects, rubbing their eyes, or sharing food and toys with others.
  • Plan ahead. If your district returns to full-time distance learning, will you be ready? Make sure you have contingency plans in place in the event of a sudden shift.
  • To pod or not to pod? Some families are organizing small-group “pods” with a teacher or tutor to help students learning from home. If you are considering such an arrangement, ensure that you are comfortable with your podmates’ habits and learning styles and set clear expectations ahead of time.

And sometimes it just helps to remember that “this, too, shall pass.” Every scenario has its ups and downs. Do your best to focus on the good and encourage your kids no matter where they are learning this year.

“Uncertainty is definitely hard for all of us,” said Dr. Jewelia Wagner. “Let your kids know that you are in this together and that you are there for them when it comes to school and life.”

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