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Back-to-School Tips, Post COVID-19

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Last week, you received the official word from your kids’ schools: they will be returning to in-person learning this fall. After a year-plus of online learning, which certainly had its challenges at times, you are pretty pleased with this news. At the same time, you admit you are a bit unsure about the return to the “old normal” in school.

With this in mind, consider the following do’s and don’ts to help prepare your kids — and you — for going back to school in person.

Do: Buy Them New Clothes and Supplies

Last year, you might have skipped over the entire back-to-school shopping trip, and for good reason. With at home-learning, your kids didn’t really need new backpacks, shoes, t-shirts, pants and socks, and you bought them lined paper and pencils as needed. To get them into the back-to-school routine, treat them to new clothes and plenty of school supplies, including roomy and sturdy Nike backpacks that will hold all of those fresh boxes of crayons, pens, pencils, paints, paper and more.

Don’t: Expect a Seamless Transition

Even if your kiddos are chomping at the bit to get back to school in person and see friends and teachers again, they may still have a bit of an adjustment period. As Hun School notes, remember that your kids may feel awkward, and the school day may not be as smooth as it was prior to the pandemic. After months of being at home, getting back to a loud and crowded school building might feel a bit overwhelming — and that’s totally okay. Reassure your kids that you know it may feel strange going back to regular school and it will take a while to get used to it again, but that it will all be okay and you are there for them any time they want to talk.

Do: Get Your Kids Back on a Schedule

As you probably noticed pretty quickly, the online school “schedule” was quite a bit different than the usual routine. Your kids could literally roll out of bed five minutes before class started on their laptops, and they could grab snacks as they wished during the day and often stayed up later than usual.

As Children’s Minnesota suggests, create a schedule for the return to in-person school; routines will help kids to feel calmer and more prepared for their day, so get back to old habits including set wake-up times, good breakfasts, preparing lunches, study hours and regular bedtimes. Your kids may balk at this idea, but consider starting the new wakeup and sleep schedule a week or so before the first day of school; this way, when their alarms go off at 6:30 a.m. they will be more ready to go.

Don’t: Be a Negative Nellie

Maybe you wish online school was going on a bit longer, or perhaps you are really nervous about your kids being away from you during the day. To keep your children as calm and confident as possible, strive to keep any negative feelings to yourself and reassure them that all of the teachers and the principal want them to be healthy and safe, and that the return to in-person school is a good thing. Kids tend to be emotional sponges, so do your best to be positive about their return to the classroom.

Do: Have a Great Year

There were probably times during the height of the pandemic when you wondered if your kids would ever go back to school in person again. Now that you know they will be heading back in the fall, it’s time to get back to the old familiar routines. By treating your kids to new clothes and supplies and getting everyone back on a schedule, adjusting your expectations and staying as positive as you can, the return to school should go as smoothly as can be expected.

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