As summer winds down, the time has come to help your children prepare for the school year ahead. This year offers a chance to get back to normalcy with students in school full-time and opportunities for friends and play; however, there are still many questions and unknowns as the pandemic wanes. Here at Corken + Company we value our clients and our community, and wanted to share a few tips on how to prepare:
Start with normal back-to-school planning:
As in past years, it is time to push bedtimes back to an earlier hour and institute wake-up calls. It is also time to trim back summer’s expanded gaming and social media use to make room for upcoming homework and after-school activities. Have fun with your shopping for supplies and clothes. This is also a perfect time to introduce new responsibilities and freedoms.
It is also important to discuss hopes and anxieties around a new school year. The usual questions include: What will my teacher be like? Will the work be hard? What if I can’t keep up? Will I be with my friends? Take some time to reinforce how all students will be in the same boat from last year’s academic losses, and how teachers might take this into consideration. Reassure younger ones that teachers often care about students across all areas of their lives. And while they might be in class with a friend, it is important to work on making new friends, too.
For older, high-achieving students, this will be a good time to discuss past academic and extracurricular pressure. Rather than diving into the deep end of the stress pool, perhaps they might want to reassess the activities in which they want to engage.
Discuss and plan for COVID-19 adjustments:
This part of your planning will be dependent on your local transmission rates and guidelines. For instance, some districts have said that they will end remote learning altogether while others are considering a hybrid model for COVID-related problems. You’ll also need to have a plan in place in case students in a classroom are sent home due to a positive test, or your entire school needs to return to remote learning due to a case resurgence.
Address special needs before school starts:
If your child has special considerations, such as a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan, inquire ahead of time about what services will be available. You will also want to give extra support to younger students, or children struggling with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder or social/separation anxiety. Help these students visualize how school drop-offs and pick-ups will take place, and how remote learning will be implemented should that be necessary. Go over how to ask a friend or teacher for help when feeling overwhelmed.
Celebrate your kids’ resilience. In the past year and a half, your kids had to make exceedingly difficult lifestyle adjustments and deal with numerous losses. Working at a school myself, I witnessed countless examples of children finding unique, creative ways to play and learn. Should the virus continue to dissipate, you might also want to consider a special end-of-summer ritual to put COVID-19 in the past and begin with a clean slate.
As this new school year approaches our team at Corken + Company hopes you and your family are happy, healthy and ready to tackle another year!