Preparing Children to Return to School
A Developmental Approach
As we continue through the current pandemic and re-opening efforts show real challenges, school districts everywhere are trying to devise the best plans for children, teachers, and staff to return. And while there will be no perfect solution for each family, parents must consider all the information and choose the option that works best for their families. But whether you want the in-person school option or the digital learning option, taking time to prepare children for a return to learning is essential.
The typical end of the summer blues that children experience before going back to school will, this year, be exacerbated by the extended time at home with minimal routines in place. We are all trying to deal with the day to day changes and strong emotions that go along with that. Since there is so much uncertainty, many parents feel apprehensive about making the wrong decisions, and children feel it. However, we must find a way not to completely dwell on the situation while also continuing to respect its significance. Since children thrive on stability, steps must be implemented to help them feel safe and secure, no matter what school decision is made.
To start, be honest with children that there will be changes but do not focus on what they will be losing. Instead, empower them to accept the modifications and help them understand how these things are to keep everyone safe. Giving them practical tools to navigate new school procedures and strategies to rebuild relationships within social distancing parameters will ease the fear. Planning and preparing can lessen uncertainty while also supporting children in their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. Being patient and flexible and utilizing positive reinforcement will create a sense of control and stability.
It is difficult, however, to know where to start when preparing our children for the new school year and the changes that will come along with it. Accessing community resources, such as the SKILLZ program, can help with this. Since SKILLZ is an innovative child development approach, it utilizes an age-specific methodology that fosters growth in the areas of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. Also, the Parent SKILLZ supplemental practices assist parents with the most effective means to connect with their children as they work through these uncertain times.
As we move forward with modified educational procedures, we must find ways to help ease the transition for children. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were unprepared for what was ahead of us. Although there are still undefined processes
being worked through, we have a better gauge for what we may be presented with. Within the realm of child development and education, while we still don’t have all of the information as to what the new school year will look like, what we can be sure of is that we can prepare our children starting today. As John Wooden stated, “Confidence comes from being prepared.” Let us afford our children more confidence and prepare them for a “new normal.”
Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide. Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Masters Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.