With younger children not vaccinated and the Delta variant rising, schools are still figuring out the safest ways to reopen. Here's how to prepare yourself and your children.
At the beginning of the summer, many parents assumed that their children would go back to school – yes, literally back to school – in the fall. As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread, many schools are waiting to make final decisions on how to proceed with the coming school year.
"We have no idea how to plan for this academic year," said Tyler Tracy, Lead Web Developer at Instinct Marketing. His children go to school in a California district that requires all teachers to be vaccinated and that all teachers, students and staff wear masks, but has not yet communicated several important tasks to parents – including, for example, whether school lunches will be provided. .
“No update on the first day of school. No update on delivery and collection. No information about school lunches, Tracy explains.
How do parents prepare for a school year that in many ways has not yet been determined? How will you and your children handle a case that may involve both personal and distance learning? How can you explain to children who may have been very happy to get "back to normal" that this school year may look like the last?
Are you looking for some tips for school? Here's what we learned by talking to parents who are currently in the throes of this uncertainty – and this is how they try to make life easier for themselves and their children.
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The best way to help your children prepare for the coming school year is by helping them understand that next year can be very unpredictable. Lorie Anderson, a parenting blogger at MomInformed, reminds her children not to set their hopes on any particular scenario — whether it's personal classes, the opportunity to participate in a favorite sport or leisure activity, or even the opportunity to sit next to a friend. at lunch.
"My children and their friends are looking forward to going back to school this fall," Anderson explains. "However, we are trying to address expectations as Delta variant infections increase and many more schools are considering worm and social distancing mandates."
If your children have talked incessantly about how happy they are to come back to school and see their friends again, it may be time to talk about how the new school year can be completely different than they expect. Many students will need to wear masks; many schools will continue with space tables several meters apart and work to maintain social distance both inside and outside the classroom.
If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, distance education from home may continue to be the norm. Parents and children should be prepared to stop not only favorite school activities and extracurricars, but also personal education to return to online learning.
"We have had several conversations with our children about what to expect," says Anderson – and she recommends other parents do the same. "Explain that while the pandemic is getting better, teachers and adults want to keep their children safe until everyone is vaccinated."
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Help your young children process their anxiety
Anxiety at school is common even in the best of circumstances – but you and your children can be a little extra anxious this year, and for good reason.
Maybe you're trying to figure out how to manage another year of balancing your distant workday with your children's distant school day. Maybe your children are worried about what it might be like to return to the classroom after a year at home. Maybe both you and your children are worried about the possibility of being affected or transmitting COVID-19 – especially because the highly contagious Delta variant reportedly sends more children to the hospital.
"These are strange circumstances," said Alex Mastin, founder and CEO of Home Grounds. "It's something we never had to deal with, which makes it even harder."
Mastin helps her children work through their anxiety by providing compassion and emotional support – and suggests that other parents do the same. This can often be as simple as listening to your children's concerns and reassuring them that the trustworthy adults in their lives are doing everything they can to protect everyone.
Anderson agrees. Ensure [your kids] that adults work to protect them. Remind them to do their part to protect themselves and their friends by wearing a mask, washing their hands and, if they are old enough, getting vaccinated.
Mastin also recommends access to mental health resources, including counseling. Both parents and children can benefit from having a safe space to share and process their fears, as well as the opportunity to learn essential coping skills that can prepare them to deal with anxiety, insecurity and disappointment.
Turn negative into positive
19659011] When it comes to disappointments – be prepared for your children to express disappointment and / or frustration about several aspects of the coming school year. Some children may be disappointed that their school does not offer full-time classroom instruction. Other children may have enjoyed being a distance learner and will be disappointed to return to the classroom.
Help your children build resilience by teaching them how to turn those negative into positive. For example, some schools may decide to hold classroom activities outdoors, where there is more room for social distance and more fresh air to dispel any viruses. If your children complain about the heat, dirt, or discomfort of sitting on the ground, give them a reason to think of the outdoor classroom as a place.
"Tell your children that this can be even more exciting than the classroom," Anderson suggests, "because teachers come up with fun activities that use the outside world as a classroom.
It's important to keep your transformation realistic – firstly because children are quick to take action when adults are uneven, and secondly because children will only develop this skill themselves when they understand that it is based on truth. . Yes, the scenario that your children are currently fearing will probably not be as fun, as comfortable or as simple as the scenario they were hoping for. But if you help your kids find the positive and the opportunities in every unexpected shift this year may come, they can start looking for those opportunities on their own – and that's the kind of lessons few classrooms can learn.
The unusual circumstances can offer the kind of life lessons that few classrooms can teach.
Be prepared for last-minute changes
If there is one thing we have learned from talking to parents about the coming school year, it is that you must be prepared for last-minute changes. For example, two of the parents we interviewed only found out that their school would offer personal classes after we completed the first interview.
Tracy is still waiting to hear about details such as whether school lunches will be provided in his district – and he expects them to change. "The stress of having a last-minute shop when we finally find out what we need for this school year is difficult for parents and students," he said.
Anderson is also preparing – and his children – for change. This includes the transition from personal learning to hybrid or distance learning. "Schools that take a hybrid-oriented approach to reopening are likely to be the norm, especially early in the school year."
Because we remind parents to turn negative into positive, we end positively. Today's school-age children have spent more than a year dealing with unpredictable schedules, last-minute changes, and postponed gatherings with family and friends. Many children have also become skilled at following the public health recommendations that are issued and updated as we learn more about COVID and its variants. While no one wanted the coming academic year to be as unsurpassed as the previous one, we have all spent the past year teaching ourselves how to handle it.
Which means that in many ways you and your children already have all the preparation you need.
Now it's just waiting for the school's next email.
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