Many of us are scrambling to prepare for a school year that will be starting virtually. If you’re a working parent, you may be wondering how you’re going to juggle work and have your kids at home, attending school.
Your kids may be wondering how they’re going to stay connected to their friends or how they will survive more online learning.
Here are some tips to help you and your family survive this unprecedented back-to-school season.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The number one piece of advice that we have is not being afraid to ask for help if you need it. People often say that “it takes a village to raise a child.” There’s a lot of truth in this statement. If you’re lucky enough to have an available family member or friend, ask if they can help if you need it. Areas that someone could help may include in-person or virtual tutoring, coming over for a few hours, or offering a listening ear and guidance for you or your kids.
Start establishing routines now.
For many families, routines have fallen by the wayside over months of stay-at-home orders and no school. Although schools will be starting virtually, many schools will have a more structured schedule than their distant learning schedule from last school year. If your kids have gotten used to staying up late and sleeping in, it may be good to get them used to the sleep schedule that you’d like them to have once school starts.
Set clear expectations with your kids.
One advantage that you have going into this school year versus the end of last school year is that you and your kids are likely to have already been through this once. During the previous school year, most of us got thrown into distance learning with no warning. Take time to evaluate what worked, and what didn’t, and try to think of ways that you can help make this school year even better. Be sure to set clear expectations with your kids.
Create a dedicated workspace.
If possible, give your kids a dedicated workspace where they can attend online classes and do their homework. This may be a corner of their bedrooms or an area in the living room.
Stay connected through other virtual opportunities.
Some of the school year’s traditional activities, such as sporting events and dances, may be canceled or postponed, but there are other opportunities for kids to stay connected with their peers. Online clubs, group chats, and video calls can be great alternatives to in-person get-togethers; however, it’s essential to set clear boundaries on what you consider acceptable usage and behavior for social media and other digital technologies.
Be self-compassionate and teach your kids to do the same.
While everyone’s situation is different, we can relate to the disturbances and uncertainties that this pandemic has brought, including the start of this next school year. As you navigate through this season, try not to be too hard on yourself. When you feel yourself getting stressed, take a moment, and try to relax; take a walk, meditate, write your favorite inspirational quotes or verses, or practice relaxing breathing techniques. It’s also essential to recognize the things that you can control. You can control your thoughts, actions, and how you take care of yourself. Journaling your feelings can be extremely helpful. You can release your worries on paper, but counter them with positive thoughts. If you make a mistake, evaluate what may have worked and what went wrong. Teach your kids to do the same. Mistakes can be beneficial. They allow us to learn and grow. And perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to be grateful for even the smallest things. Try making a list of all the things that make you feel thankful. A grateful attitude can help you feel happier, and help your kids also appreciate what they have.
About the Author:
Danielle Matthew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who helps adolescents, adults, couples, and families who are in pain due to issues such as anxiety, severe stress, low self-esteem, or depression. With over 20 years of experience, Danielle authored Amazon Parenting Best-Seller, The Empowered Child: How to Help Your Child Cope, Communicate, and Conquer Bullying, and is the Director of The Empowerment Space Bullying Therapy Program in Los Angeles. Featured in Huffington Post and TODAY.com, Danielle has appeared on Fox, ABC, and CBS Morning Shows and Mom Talk Radio, and is the expert contributor to Washington Post’s article: “Kids love to ‘roast’ each other. But when does good-natured teasing become bullying?