By any measure, the second decade of the 21st Century has been full of trials: extreme weather events and political upheaval, a slow economic recovery after a debilitating downturn and social media-driven protest movements.
However, only nine months into 2020, we’ve lived with a deadly pandemic and murder wasps, heatwaves and hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis; a global economy teetering on the brink of collapse and growing international tension. And there’s still three months to go until this abysmal year is over.
Weren’t there any bright spots?
During these trying times, we’ve seen human kindness shine through, from Captain Tom Moore’s unique fundraiser to people visiting their neighbours, even if only through the sitting room window. Liverpool FC won the Premier League title – remarkable even if you’re not a fan, and…
We get to return to school!
Some might think that could hardly be counted as a good thing but, if you think about it, isn’t resuming normal life wonderful after months of lockdown and uncertainty?
Whether you join the kids already back in school in their chorus of glee or remain apprehensive that this virus is too virulent to send children into classrooms, your Superprof has all the advice you need to get yourself – and your kids ready for school.
COVID 19: Advice for Kids Returning to School
In general, kids fall into two camps where school is concerned: they love it and can’t wait to see their friends again or they hate it. It makes them feel anxious and stressed out for a whole host of reasons, from fears of bullying to worries over bad marks.
For the former group, fears of the coronavirus may have only a slight impact; for the latter, COVID may drown out all other concerns.
Regardless of where you lie on that spectrum, what level/grade you are – primary, secondary, college or university, there is only one way to approach any potentially-infectious situation: follow safety guidelines.
When you return to school this term, you’ll find a lot has changed. There won’t be as many kids in your class and your teacher will seat you with a group of students that you’ll have to stick with throughout the day: during breaks and recess, at lunch and even when walking down the hall.
Any time you are outside of your ‘bubble’ – your classroom or outside of your group, you will have to wear a mask and any time you return into your bubble, you will have to use sanitizer on your hands. Luckily, you won’t have to wear your mask when you’re in your seat or eating in the cafeteria.
It might be a little harder getting to school, too.
Public transportation – buses, trams, underground trains and the like all have limits on the number of people who can ride at one time so you might have to walk or ride a bike to school. If you do ride a bus to school, be sure to wear your mask and sanitize your hands as soon as you get back outside!
All of that is if you get to go to school. Many schools all over the world are teaching kids online.
It makes it a little bit harder to learn new stuff when you’re not in school but, if you live in an area that doesn’t have the infections under control, you may have to stay home and see your teacher and classmates on your computer.
There’s a whole lot more you need to know about kids going back to schools during the COVID era; you should read our article about it.
Ten Back-to-School Tips for Parents
Students are not the only ones worried about possibly contracting the virus; if anything, parents are more on the defensive than their children are. That’s not a bad thing; such vigilance could be life-saving.
There’s no need to be hyper-aware, though, or so fearful that it infringes on your day-to-day life. Besides, your children take their emotional cues from you so, if you are excessively fretful, they might be, too. Especially if they are younger.
The order of the day here is to get back to some semblance of normal while staying safe. That means following all of the masking and sanitizing guidelines put forth by your local and national authorities.
Beyond that, you can consider what needs to be done to get the kids back into their classes.
It all starts with getting back into the school routine: reasonable bedtimes and early rising, allocating chores and sparing time for homework.
If your child/ren will take classes online, you should make sure they have a space conducive to learning. For instance, if you have a lot of traffic in your home, placing the computer on the dining room table – where your student may be easily distracted is not a good idea.
If your children's schools have implemented online learning, you or another adult should supervise the learning. Studies have shown that kids have a hard time focusing on the lesson with no adult nearby to make sure they pay attention.
These are just a couple of the tips we have for parents getting their kids ready for school…
How to Get Your Kids Ready to go Back to School
The first stirrings of excitement for the new school year comes from back to school shopping.
Kids love the prospect of new school clothes and shoes even if they have to wear uniforms. They also relish fulfilling the demands of their school supply lists; after all, retail therapy comes in many different forms, doesn’t it?
If your kids have a bit of school experience – they have a couple of years in the public education system, clothes shopping for school signals the start of a comfortable pattern: they’ll see their friends again, they might make fun of teachers or maybe go out for sports…
The parenting side of the experience is a bit more complex, especially this year.
First, you have to find out what has changed at school, and what will stay the same. For instance, reduced class sizes and student ‘bubbles’ may mean that your learner will not get to sit or interact with a best friend.
You should find out the school’s plan for keeping kids safe and socially distanced during class time, at recess and during lunches. You may even buy a lunchbox to pack your child a nutritious lunch if s/he fears possible infection from contact with cafeteria staff or from touching a contaminated tray.
You should also consider that your students have been out of school for a long time; they may have gotten out of the learning habit so going over some of the material they were studying when schools shut down would be a good idea.
If your kids are younger – preschool age or not much older, you might play educational games with them. Should your pupils be older, you may challenge them to academic activities such as researching unusual geography facts or calculating percentages in their heads.
Buying school clothing and hunting for back to school deals are the easy, fun parts of parenting kids back to school.
Back to School Supplies and Bargains
At the least, your learner’s list of school supplies will include:
- pens and pencils, perhaps even coloured pencils
- school notebooks
- pocket folders and a binder or organizer
- a rubber (eraser)
- glue sticks
- a maths toolkit (maybe an art toolkit and/or a watercolour paint set as well)
- a pencil case
If your student is in secondary school, you may also need to supply graphing paper and a graphing calculator. Besides all of these necessities of learning, your students will need backpacks to carry everything in.
Wait! Why not consider last school year’s leftovers before looking at any back to school promotion?
You may not have to spend as much as your thought (feared?) you might to get your kids outfitted for school. There’s a good chance you already have at least a few things on that supply list and, if there is no damage to it, wouldn’t that backpack still suit?
And what about shopping for back-to-school clothes?
If your children's schools have resolved that online learning is the safest way to resume classes, you might not need to buy any back to school clothes. However, you should note whether the school insists that normally-uniformed students appear on camera wearing their school uniforms.
Other than in that instance, you only need to be sure your children are presentable on-camera.
The only remaining question is how to balance the need for school supply kits and new clothes with the budget you have set aside for them; possibly a skinny budget, considering the financial hardship we’ve all been under because of this virus.
We divulge those secrets in our full-length article on how to find the best deals on what your children need for school.