This Is Not The School You Remember
Do you remember going back to school after the summer holidays?
They only lasted around 6 weeks, but it felt a lot longer, and the thought of returning to the classroom always brought up mixed emotions.
Children going back to school in 2021 will be feeling mixed emotions too, but for entirely different reasons than we did all those years ago…
- What does the next academic year have in store?
- What social pressures will there be?
- What will my teachers be like?
- Where will I even sit?
Do you remember these questions rattling around your head on the first day back at school?
Well, your kids are still asking the same questions, but with a few extra concerns that we never had to worry about.
The threat of Covid dominates the media’s narrative and will likely be on the forefront of many children’s minds. They are faced with classes being held outside, or even cancelled completely, and there is a general feeling of uncertainty for parents, teachers and students with government rules changing so often.
All of the above is causing a huge disruption to the education of our next generation, so today we’re giving you some steps on how you can minimise the effects of these unsettling times.
START WITH A ROUTINE
Even though much has changed, a healthy routine is still one of the best ways to get a good start to education. Getting your routine down will help establish a sense of familiarity in unfamiliar times, for both you and your children.
Sit down with your child at least a week before they go back to school and make a plan that you can both agree on, the more detailed, the better. By letting your child have their say here, you will give them a sense of ownership of the routine that they would otherwise not have, this will increase the chances of them sticking to it.
While no one routine is going to be perfect for everybody, you can start with some of these steps and tweak them to suit your household.
- Establish a regular bedtime. Most children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep, so decide their bedtime by working back from the time they need to be up in the morning to ensure they are getting enough rest.
- Prepare your child’s uniform, bag and lunch the night before, or better yet, do this with them, instead of for them! Developing a sense of independence is a vital part of growing up, and taking on their own responsibilities is a big part of that, even if you’re still there to lend a helping hand.
- If you have opted for a school dinner, ask the school for a copy of the lunch menu, especially if your son or daughter has specific nutritional needs or allergies.
- Make sure you and your child know how they are getting to school. Are they car sharing, do they have a friend they can catch the bus with, or will you be dropping them off yourself?
- Know what you will be having for breakfast. Try to avoid sugary breakfast cereals and instead opt for something more nutritious that will release energy slowly, like porridge or eggs on toast.
- If there is more than one child getting ready in the morning and space is limited, design your routine so there is no fighting over the bathroom or breakfast.
7. Finally, have a checklist you can both run through to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything before you leave.
As the master of routines Tim Ferris says… Win the morning, win the day!
CALM THEIR NERVES
The best way to understand the challenges your child is facing in school is to simply ask them.
It’s not always easy getting a child to open up about their feelings, but you can start by asking them a few simple questions like:
- What are they excited about?
- Is there anything they are worried about?
- Is there anything they need from you when they go back to school? (And not a new Parker pen or pencil case.)
It can also be helpful to reach out to other parents at school to see if there are any shared concerns or anything you can all do to make your children’s lives more straightforward so they can focus more on their education.
FIRST WEEK DOWN
Once you’ve made it through your first week, it’s a good idea to sit down and review with your child how it all went and what could have gone better.
Just because you made a routine together, it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. In fact, this kind of rigidity can sometimes lead to rebellion, so try to give a little leeway and tweak any areas that aren’t working.
Reward don’t punish!
Rewards have proven to be a more effective way of dealing with children’s behaviour than punishments, so make sure you reward good work, especially when it comes to homework. There are more distractions today than ever before, so try offering them an incentive for prioritizing schoolwork over playing computer games or chatting with their friends online.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teachers
Now, this might come as a surprise, but your kids don’t tell you everything! If there is something you are concerned about, it’s perfectly okay to get in touch with your child’s school and have a conversation.
Finally, be patient with your children as they go back to school in this difficult time. This is not like school when we were kids! Much has changed and everybody adapts and learns in their own way. Your understanding and support will go a long way in making this school year more manageable and worry free.