This winter holiday season has been amazing for our family. We relaxed and relished the time with each other out of the usual routine. The kids got to enjoy the cool weather, snow, and many winter activities. Alas, the holidays are coming to an end and now it’s time for the kids to get ready to go back to school; in Ontario, Canada this year that means virtual learning due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The announcement made by the provincial government that schools will be going virtual just two days before the school session begins has parents all over the province scrambling to prepare.
Our family is all too familiar with remote schooling. Our oldest who is in grade 1 has attended about half of his time in school to date virtually, due to the pandemic. These are some back-to-school tips I have picked up along the way that helped to smooth the transition for our children and us, whether returning in-person or virtually.
Tips To Help Your Child Get Back To School
1. Sleeping Patterns
Whenever there is a break from school, whether it be summer holidays or winter break this often means extended bedtimes. When we know our kids can sleep in the next day, it’s easy for us to allow for later nights. This can make the transition back to the school routine challenging. If your sleep schedule has changed over the winter break, it’s time to get back on track. The National Sleep Foundation suggests “adjust their bed and wake times in 15-minute increments every few days until your child is sleeping and waking at the desired times for school.” Ideally, you’ll start this gradually before the first day back to school.
2. Talk About Going Back To School
It’s important that you let your kids know when the break will end and school will begin. This will help them get prepared mentally and they won’t be surprised on the first day back to school. If you talk about it, you can also get them excited to get back to learning and seeing their friends.
As school approaches, your kids may begin to feel anxious. You can express that what they are feeling is normal, and it is okay. Getting back into a routine can be difficult and take some adjusting. Getting into a new school routine for those children going remote can be even more challenging. Make sure your child understands that they’re not alone and that all the other children in their school are going through the same thing.
3. Get Organized Together
Discuss with your child what school supplies are needed and get them ready together, this can help them get mentally prepared to go back to school. If they will be going to school remotely take some time to set up your child’s workspace with them, encourage them to personalize and decorate the space to make it their own.
4. Reading Time
It is very good if kids continue to read while on extended breaks from school. Some enjoy reading and will be happy to do so, while others welcome a much-needed break from the books. If your child is one that has embraced a break, start reading again in the days leading up to school.
5. Homework Routine
It can be difficult for kids to get back into the habit of regular homework. This can also be difficult for you but of course, the more you make yourself available to help, the better for your child. A good way to ease the transition back to a homework routine is by encouraging them to do some school work ie. reading when on breaks from school.
6. Limit Electronics And Screen Time
Over the winter holidays and truthfully throughout this pandemic, it is likely that more than the usual screen time was allowed. When school starts the time they have for screens will either decrease in the case of in-person learning or increase in the case of remote learning. In the days leading back to school, try limiting the amount of screen time during school hours for young children returning to school and after school hours for those attending remotely. Remote learning means hours in front of screens, try to encourage screen-free time for a few hours after school.
7. Back To School – Be Patient
Be patient, transitions are hard on all of us. Even a couple of weeks off can make it hard for your child to go back to school and get back into a routine. Adjusting takes time and that’s okay. You can have a plan to ease the transition but it still may take some time to adjust back into a routine. Be patient and supportive and it should not take long for them to get adjusted and back to normal.
If your kids will be learning virtually it’s important that they are engaged and feel connected to their classmates and teachers. Encourage your child to participate, have their video on, and stay muted unless told otherwise.
Our introduction to virtual learning was last year when my son was in SK (senior kindergarten). For the first half of the year, I needed to be with him to provide assistance. He was eventually on his own, once he was comfortable and confident enough to do so.
Heading Back To School
It can be a challenge for your child to go back to school after a long break. Getting back into the swing of things for both kids and parents won’t necessarily be easy. The first day and even the first week back to school after the winter break is always a bit hectic. Before you know it you’ll be right back into the regular daily school routine.