We waited all summer to find out what this school year would look like.
Now we know. Most schools are starting online.
Here we are less than a week away from the first day of school.
It’s not going to be the same and it is not ideal.
This decision was probably one of the hardest decisions ever to be made by parents. Feeling forced to choose between physical health and mental health of your family may feel helpless.
Having to look at finances and decide on what to sacrifice while keeping stability and having someone home available for the kids is stressful.
It has been extremely difficult to know what to do and how best to protect your family. This goes against your parental instinct to protect.
Take a deep breath.
Let’s look back at all you have been through since March.
Guess what? You managed somehow, yes there were tears and yelling and it was not pretty. IT WAS SO HARD.
But you did it! Barely… but you did it. Your children did it.
This might have been the first summer in a while that your children stayed home and did not go to summer camp.
It was chaotic, maybe the kids complained about being bored but you also noticed that your family bonded a bit.
While it is true that the pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Somehow we are still here. We are stronger than we think.
Here are my 8 tips for families starting school online:
- Make a schedule/routine, this helps keep everyone at home on track and offers predictability – which helps everyone feel safe.
- Make sure everyone is well-rested. Kids focus better, can learn better, and perform better if these basic needs are met. Parents also are more patient if they have their needs met.
- Ensure they are eating nutritious meals.
- Burn off some energy before getting started for the day by engaging in physical activity (bike ride).
- Set up a comfortable, clean, functional study space. Organize needed supplies and make them easily accessible. Depending on the child’s age and learning style, decide if they need space or to be closer in proximity for monitoring.
- Encourage and plan for breaks, stretching, snacking, playing with the family pet, or going for a walk. This also keeps them focused.
- Check-in with your child regularly; how are they feeling? What are they struggling with? Validate feelings first and then problem-solve together.
- Encourage social interaction with peers – a safe way in which everyone involved is comfortable with.
This year won’t be easy.
You are not alone. Reach out to your support system.
Social distancing and all these stressors related to the pandemic is a lot on everyone.
Kids don’t always have the words to explain how they feel. Usually, they will show you something is wrong with behavior changes.