How to Have a Successful School Year When Everything Seems Different

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No matter how your school district is starting off this school year, there is no doubt it’s going to feel a bit different. So much has changed in the past 6 months, and there is still so much uncharted territory in regards to school, sports, and extracurricular activities.

Consistency is key when it comes to kids, so it’s our job as parents to help find ways to make the school year feel as normal as possible. And believe it or not – there are simple things you can do to make the school year successful, even when everything seems different!

Practice with a Picnic Lunch

If your child will be eating lunch at school they are going to need to know how to open their own snack bags, juice boxes, and packages. Before the school year starts, pack your child’s lunch box with items similar to what you would pack for school lunch, head out on a picnic (even if it’s just in your own backyard), and give your child opportunities to practice opening these items up by themselves. With social distancing protocols in place, kids are going to need to learn how to be as independent as possible.

Get a Cute Mask

Let your child pick out a fun mask to wear at school. Be sure to pack one or two extras in your child’s backpack – because you just never know when they are going to sneeze in it, spill on it, or lose it. Clipping your child’s mask to a fun lanyard that they can wear around their neck is a great way to make sure it doesn’t get lost.

Label All the School Supplies

Make sure everything your child brings to school is labeled with their name. Crayons, markers, pencils, you name it… everything should be marked, so there is no confusion as to whose supplies they are.

Take First Day Photos

Get dressed up, get your first day of school sign ready, and take pictures on the first day! Even if your child is going to school remotely, it deserves to be documented! And what a story they will get to tell in the future.

Do a Back to School Interview

Interview your child about their thoughts and feelings before the first day of school. Ask basic questions about their favorite food, color, activities, and job they want to have when they grow up, but be sure to add in some questions unique to the upcoming school year to really get your child’s thoughts and feelings on paper.

What are you most excited about this school year?

What are you least excited about this school year?

How do you feel about starting __ grade?

Practice Handwashing Songs

Teach your child to sing the Happy Birthday song two times, or the ABC’s song while washing their hands. They should be scrubbing with soap the entire time they are singing the song to be sure they have thoroughly scrubbed away the germs.

Handwashing Video for Kids

Set Up a Home School Space

Whether your child is going to school this fall in person, digitally, or with a hybrid mix of the two, an at home work space is something you want to set up for them ASAP. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, as long as it’s a consistent and dedicated space with room for them to work. Make sure their work area has room for a computer, a place to write, and somewhere they can store books and basic supplies.

Let Your Child Know How Proud of Them You Are

Let your child know each day just how proud you are of them! Tuck a quick message in their lunch box, leave a post it on their bedroom door, or write a message in dry erase marker on their mirror. Kids have had to adapt to a lot of change lately, and little reminders of how proud you are of them or how much you love them, are extra powerful right now!  

Probably the most important thing you can do to make this school year successful is to be there for your child. There has been a lot of uncertainty and change, and emotions have run high. Adults have struggled to process all of this, so it goes without saying that kids are too. Being there to listen and comfort your child is one of the best things you can do to help them process all these big feelings. Remember, it’s okay to be honest about your feelings too! Let them know what things make you frustrated, or what things you wish you could change… it will help them feel validated and that they aren’t alone.  

We wish everyone headed to school in 2020 and fun, successful, and memorable school year!


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