Preparing Your Child for the School Year Ahead: Encouraging a Smooth Transition

Preparing Your Child for the School Year Ahead: Encouraging a Smooth Transition
2021 . 09 . 04 12

With back-to-school butterflies just around the corner, you may have started to notice a mixture of feelings arising for your child—and yourself. Whether this summer was deemed the best one ever or fell short due to restrictions that remain from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s normal if you and your child are feeling apprehensive about the school year ahead. 

Last year, instead of planning playdates and scheduling carpool sessions, the burning question among kids, parents, and teachers alike were whether you were signed up for remote learning, in-person schooling, or the hybrid model. So, as you prepare for the year ahead, remember that some of the anxieties you are feeling are purely an instinctual response to protect and care for your child. 

Preparing your child for the school year ahead will depend on the model of learning your child will be starting, or returning to, but here we’ll be focusing on how parents can encourage a smooth transition for their children as they embark on in-person schooling. 

Improved Safety Measures in Schools

As you gear up to hear the chimes of those exhilarating morning bells and double (and triple) check that their little shoes are all laced and tied, you can breathe easier knowing your child will be made to feel welcomed and protected by the safety measures put in place by their dedicated school system. Many schools are implementing specific safety protocols that will help keep your child safe and cared for during this time of transition. These safety measures may vary depending on the size and age range of your school system but will generally include: 

  • Reducing face-to-face contact among students and staff in the classroom 
  • Implementing and enforcing mask policies
  • Utilizing outdoor spaces for instruction as much as possible
  • Encouraging hand-washing and good hygiene 
  • Installing physical barriers in areas where there may be close contact with others
  • Reducing the number of children on school buses at one time
  • Assigning children to a buddy system or group assignment to eliminate contact with others
  • Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces throughout the day
  • Abiding by sick policies to ensure students and staff stay home with any sign of illness or fever
  • Providing education about vaccinations and informing families of the steps they should take to if someone in the family may have been exposed to COVID-19, or another contagion.

(Mayo Clinic, 2020). 

Parental Involvement for a Smooth Transition 

While the school system works hard to ensure the safety and well-being of its students and staff, keep in mind that your involvement can also encourage a smooth transition for your child. Although not present with your children in the classroom or on the blacktop at recess, there is a multitude of ways you can help prepare your child for the school year ahead and ease some of those first-day jitters. 

  • Talk about the exciting and positive aspects of school 
  • Show your children their school and take a walk around the building together
  • Check with the school if children can meet their teachers beforehand
  • Inquire about a buddy system to help your child feel more at ease
  • Ask about their worries or concerns and provide support 
  • Ensure they have the supplies they need to be successful 
  • Adjust your work schedule for the first few days if possible to spend time together after school
  • Create a consistent schedule for your child to include: getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious breakfast, preparing their clothes, supplies and lunch the night before, and making sure they have time for free play and physical activity during their day.  

(Hoffses, 2018).

Whether apprehensive about your child starting school for the very first time, returning to in-person schooling after the pandemic, or kicking the school year off in a new location, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious. Sure, the concept of school can feel a smidge overwhelming at first, but once you and your child establish an effective routine you’ll find that packing up their lunchbox and signing those permission slips have become second nature. 

 

References

Hoffses, K. (Ed.). (2018, August). Back to School (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth. KidsHealth. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/back-school.html
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, October 7). How to prepare kids for school reopening during COVID-19. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/returning-safely-to-school-covid-19/art-20490441