Typically, getting ready for the “Back to School” season includes shopping for school supplies and checking out class lists to see which friends and teacher your child will have.
I think it’s safe to say this year you have more important things on your mind than which colored pencils to purchase. Parents across the country are struggling to decide on things such as in-school vs online learning, childcare schedules, and safety measures to protect their family.
If you are like most parents, you may be experiencing a higher level of anxiety. This is completely understandable considering the circumstances. After all, no one has any experience blending back-to-school concerns with a pandemic, so we are making things up as we go! Let’s take a quick look at anxiety, and then I’m going to share a few strategies that will help you begin the school year with ease and confidence. When anxiety pops up, it is usually because we feel a lack of control in a situation. When we don’t know what to expect our minds can create all kinds of disasters and challenges that may or may not be realistic. During this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to get lost in the flood of “expert” statistics and recommendations and to feel completely lost in what is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Conflicting information leaves us second-guessing every decision we make. Because of this, I wanted to give you a few strategies that will give you a sense of control amid the chaos. 1. Trust your instincts
As a parent, it’s your job to make the best decisions for your family. You know your child best. You know his learning style, maturity level, and academic needs. While it is tempting to follow the lead of your best friend or the group of moms you hang out with, you know what is best for your individual child. Go with that! In the decision of online vs. in-class learning, each family has to decide which situation fits the needs of your family and your child’s learning style. Some kids do really well with online learning, others struggle because they need interaction with their teacher. There is also a lack of socialization that is affecting some children. While the instant change to online learning wasn't ideal in the spring, it did give you a sneak peek into how your child will handle the situation. This can help you decide if online learning for the entire school year could be a good match for your child. In addition, some of you have family members who are health compromised or elderly parents living with you. If this is the case, then in-school learning may bring some challenges on the homefront. This decision is very personal and unique for each family. You do you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 2. Build on what worked
One of my stepcouple clients mentioned their daughter, Megan, struggled with online learning when her school shut down in the spring. Apparently the lack of a school day routine had her wandering off and avoiding long hours in front of the laptop. While discussing the challenges of this situation, the husband mentioned in passing that it seemed to help when he would make her a list of things she needed to get done. BINGO! Lists helped Megan stay on task? Yay! That was the little glimmer of hope we could work with. We proceeded to build a back-to-school plan on this one little tidbit of success!
Megan’s stepmom offered to m