The school year is underway, and as expected, it has been hard! Whether you have sent your kiddos back to school in person, or are trying distance learning, this school year has been unlike any year before.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will make this virtual learning school year completely pain-free but here a few tools that could help:
Set up a “school space”
There’s no need to search through Pinterest for hours on how to set up the ideal remote learning environment and create a space that is designated just for school time. This allows your kiddo to “go to school”/get in the mindset of school and be able to leave the stress of school at the end of their work periods. Let your kid have some choice over what goes into the space, maybe they get to pick out which chair they want, the headphones they use for their zoom calls, or a picture on the wall. This could help them get excited for an unexpected school year.
If you haven’t already and it is in your budget, go back to school shopping. This could be done virtually (yay for online shopping!) or masked up at the store. Back to school shopping is a tradition in many families and may help your child feel some sense of normalcy about returning to school. This will also encourage your child to “get ready” for school each day, which is important so your child can feel their best when school starts.
As we have all learned over the past several months, sitting in front of a long zoom call can be hard. Support you kiddo in staying regulated by setting them up with some tools.
- Yoga ball or Chair band. Sitting still is hard work, giving your child a way to move their body while they work online can support them in staying engaged. For a list of options check out hobbr.com.
- Play-Doh/putty. Having something to move in your hands can make listening a lot easier. Consider some Play-Doh or putty for your child to work with while they listen in their school meetings.
- Gum and crunch snacks. Gum can support kids in staying regulated and focused. An alternative if you are worried about where the gum might end up is crunchy snacks! Try veggie straws or carrot sticks.
Consider hanging an emotion chart somewhere in your child’s school space. From the challenges of online learning to complications with internet connection speeds, this year is going to bring up a lot of emotions and children don’t always have the words to express these. Support them in their social and emotional learning as well as their academics! With a quick google search you can find all sorts of different feelings charts.
Have patience with your child, your child’s teacher, and most importantly with yourself. This is hard on everyone! Get extra support for yourself and your child(ren) when needed.
What are you doing to make this school year a success for yourself and your child?
Blog written by Annalise John, MSW, LICSW