By Anne Peters, LMFT
It’s safe to say the start of this school year looks a little different than years past due to COVID-19. School will look different for children across the state, too. No matter what you’ve decided for your child for this school year, we’ve got some tips and tricks for you to get back into that school routine.
– Start early – Weeks in advance of school starting, it’s important to go back to earlier bedtimes and wake-up times. Set those alarms, and get started. Although it may be hard to do while it’s still technically summer, the benefits will certainly outweigh the drawbacks. Starting this routine will allow for the child’s sleep cycle to get on track so when the first day of school rolls around, they will feel energized in the morning instead of groggy.
– Practice new school expectations at home – This tip applies if your child will be heading back to school in the fall. Determine what changes will be in place this school year and start discussing and practicing these expectations at home. This could include wearing a mask around the house, practicing appropriate hand washing (sing “Happy Birthday” twice), and answering any questions the child may have about the changes. Remember: your child will base their thoughts and opinions on the changes based on your reaction, so stay positive!
– Communicate, communicate, communicate – Open up the lines of communication. No matter what your child’s age is, there is bound to be some confusion and questions as the school year approaches. Do your best to stay positive, but also be (age appropriately) honest.
– Plan ahead – If your child will be staying home for school this fall, start the structure now. Make a visual schedule and calendar to keep everyone on track. Designate space in the home for each child to do their school work, and for you to work (if you’re working from home). Let the child make the space their own and decorate it as they choose. That will give them some ownership of the space and feel positive about it.
– Offer yourself grace – A lot of this school year is going to be trial and error, and that’s OK. Remember to give yourself grace and compassion and to recognize you’re doing the best you can. We can accept there will be bumps along the way.
– Seek additional support when needed – If you do find yourself or your child having anxiety that is hard to manage during this time, reach out for some professional support. LSI has a team of therapists ready to support you via telehealth in the comfort and safety of your own home. Learn more or give us a call at 888.457.4692.