The coming school year will be unlike any new school year that kids – or parents – have ever faced. Schools in Georgia will be reopening for the new year come fall, but counties are doing it their own way. In-person instruction, virtual learning, and a combination of these are the possibilities.
The prospect of a new school year is exciting and anxiety-inducing for children as it is. But this year will have the added anxiety of being the first school year since the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world.
As a parent, you must be prepared for whatever protocol is to be followed. No matter what it is, it’s going to be different for your kids for sure. Here’s what you can do to prepare your child for getting back to school this fall.
Establish New Routines
Start getting them into the rhythms of the school day at least a week in advance of the reopening.
This will be especially pertinent for children who will be doing distance learning. It will be very important for them to mentally separate time allotted for learning and school work from regular home time. Many kids will just not be used to attending classes without the direct supervision of their teachers, especially when all the comforts of home are right at hand.
Involve your children and make the process positive. Discuss with them the issue of homework, and establish when would be the best time for them to study. Help them set up their virtual-learning area. Activities like these will help kids prepare mentally for the coming school year.
Just remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this. Be flexible and patient with your kids while they figure it out.
Limit Technology After Certain Hours
Phones, tablet, PCs, and gaming devices are always a ready distraction. Since kids will need to get back into the flow of school time, start limiting their use of technology after certain hours.
This will help them be rested and mentally ready for school the next day. Also, it will help them get reacquainted to the practice of focusing and not relying on the constant instant gratification of their devices that they have enjoyed over the summer break.
You set the pace. But start slow, and gradually keep winding down. It’s better not to start with a sudden and strict cutoff. Make the process easy for them.
Make Sure They Understand The Need For Safety
Only very young children would be unaware or not understand the gravity of the COVID-19 situation by now. But no matter what age your kids are, start strongly reinforcing personal safety protocols. It may sound like repetition, but it is very important to emphasize their importance.
Encourage them to wash their hands often and be wary of touching their face. They should carry a mask at all times. Implore them to tell a teacher if they feel anything like a symptom of the flu.
These are good practices for all children, and not just those who will be attending school in-person. With the country testing the waters with reopening, this is a good opportunity to reinforce these practices with your kids.
Address Their Feelings
Things are going to be different. Class sizes might be reduced to allow for social distancing and certain activities might be restricted. Even seemingly simple things, like the sight of everyone wearing masks, will be a major departure from normality.
Change can often be difficult for a child.Help them navigate these changes. Have open and honest discussions with them, understand how they feel about this situation and its implications. Remember that adolescents will have the added burdens of puberty to deal with. Really listen to them instead of just offering your own opinions. Talking to them can do a great deal to put them at ease.
Participate In Safe Back-to-School Activities
Check whether your child’s school organizes virtual get-togethers. A lot of anxiety can be assuaged by meeting their new teacher, having a look at their classroom, and maybe even getting to know some of the other kids.
If such get-togethers are not an option, you can always help your child review their school’s website for information and pictures.
For Those Starting A New School
Your kids are probably already talking to their friends about starting school again. But if your child is joining a new school at this time, then it’s important to take extra care to make them as comfortable as possible.
Give a little more time for transition talk to address their back-to-school worries. You and your child could look for pictures of the school online, or on their official social media account if the school has one. Reassurance is the key.
Make Back-to-school Fun
Don’t lose out on the fun element of getting back to school. One of the activities that kids love most at this time of year is picking out their new school supplies and new clothes, and needn’t be missed. Help them plan what kind of things they would like to take for lunch. And remember, always keep up the positivity!
Learning Is Still The Priority
Make sure this is not lost on your children. The reason that schools are reopening in spite of the current situation is because of the importance of their education. Classwork, homework, and study are the priority. Help your children come back to this mind-state, and to maintain it throughout the school year.
It’s going to be a challenging time for children and parents. The school districts are doing their best, but it is up to everyone to stay vigilant. The most important thing to remember is to keep an open dialogue with your children, actively listen, and keep giving them positive reinforcement.
How Georgia Test Prep Can Help
It’s going to be difficult for children to adjust to the new modes of learning in this very novel time. And although the State of Georgia will not be having standardized tests like Georgia Milestones this year, Georgia Test Prep can still help. Repetition and practice is the key to establishing a good foundation. With Georgia Test Prep, children can practice GSE questions based on their math and language curriculum online and from the comfort and safety of their home, giving them an edge in their schoolwork.