The 2021-2022 school year may be the most anticipated of our lives — with students, teachers and parents eagerly awaiting a return to the classroom. While the beginning of the semester is a great time to prepare for a successful academic year, many students will be setting foot in a classroom for the first time in over a year. Transition back into school mode with these handy back-to-school tips.
It’s important to talk to your kids about what to expect at school and give them a chance to express any anxieties or worries they may have. Individual schools will have different COVID safety protocols, so get clarity from your district on what is being asked of students. For example, if masks will be required, help younger children practice wearing a mask by starting at home for a short period of time, and gradually increasing the duration of wear. Schools may also be limiting physical contact or requiring social distancing, so have conversations ahead of time to help your students adapt to the new normal.
Creating and sticking to a routine is very helpful for getting students back into the flow. This includes consistent wakeup and bedtimes, breaks throughout the day, study time and playtime to benefit your kids’ minds and bodies.
Every year you get a list from your kids’ teachers of required school supplies. In addition to the usual notebooks, pens and crayons, it’d be good to include a few additional items to help stop the spread of germs and diseases.
A small bottle of hand sanitizer on a carabiner can attach to your child’s backpack so he or she can easily apply it after touching shared surfaces, like door handles. To minimize use of public water fountains, send your kid to school with a reusable water bottle. If your school requires masks, be sure to pack one or two extra in a sealed plastic bag in case your kid’s mask is lost, falls on the ground or gets wet. To encourage kids not to touch their face, fidget spinners or fidget cubes are great for keeping those little fingers busy.
Many teachers are responsible for outfitting their classroom with supplies, so if you’re able, donate extra items like tissue boxes, as well as any communal supplies, like scissors or glue sticks, so there are enough for each child and sharing will be limited.
Establish Good Habits
Healthy homework and study habits are the linchpin of a successful school year. Create a homework-friendly area in your home that is stocked with supplies, like paper and pencils, and that is free of distractions, such as televisions or video games. Set a schedule for when it is time to focus on homework. Some families may find it best to require kids to finish homework before they can play, while others might favor letting little ones burn off some post-school energy before returning to the books. Once you find what works best for your family, stick with it so expectations are clear.
Be positive about assignments and offer guidance, not answers, so kids learn to problem-solve and think independently and creatively. To help build time management skills, teach your children to identify the “hard” homework and the “easy” homework. This way they can tackle the more challenging assignments first when they are most alert and focused. You can also set a good example for your kids and curl up with a book when they have a reading assignment to build a more positive association with the activity.
Pack Lunches They’ll Love
A full belly is essential for students to be able to focus, so pack a well-rounded meal that your kids will enjoy. A bento-style lunch box is great for fitting everything into one reusable container while providing separate compartments so the food doesn’t touch (for those picky eaters in your house!) Be sure to include foods they will actually eat and not just what you wish they would consume. Adding a little creativity can help get kids to consume healthier items, such as using small cookie cutters to cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes or including handwritten notes. To make lunch packing easier on yourself, either set aside time the night before or in the morning dedicated to prepping lunches for the whole family.
Unfortunately, an estimated one out of every six children in the U.S. comes from a food-insecure home where they lack consistent access to adequate food for an active, healthy life. Grubb Properties is proud to support TABLE, a local nonprofit that provides hunger relief and nutrition education services in Orange County. We invite you to lend your support to help TABLE fulfill its mission so more of our local students can grow, learn and thrive.
Have a great year!