Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.
This year, the level of difficulty in back-to-school planning has increased. Parents and kids are feeling more anxiety and uncertainty than usual with the pandemic. While it may be tempting to avoid or resist planning, waiting for more details to come forward, taking charge with the knowledge that you do have will give both you and the kids in your life more confidence.
Kids thrive on knowing all of the things. Spending the next few weeks doing school, distance learning or homeschooling start up preparations will help them to believe that they are prepared for whatever may come. That will give them a much needed boost of confidence despite the circumstances.
Tip #1: Print and Post Priorities
Having a copy of your priorities could be a sanity-saving exercise in the fall. Sit down with all the members of your family and find out what their top 3 priorities are. It is so easy to set high expectations at the beginning of the year. We often see it as a fresh start and we want to do it all. Setting priorities keeps us realistic and focused on what is the most important and trying to do those things as well as you possibly can. It doesn't mean that you can't add more later but if you start with a shopping list of things you want, you are putting a lot of pressure on everyone. Put your priorities in print and post them because when we are stressed, we often forget what the most important things are. Avoid overwhelm and the "should"ing spiral with this priorities worksheet.
Tip #2: Test-Drive Routines
Trying out parts of your typical fall morning routine is a good way to ease kids into a September schedule. Talk with children to find out what they like best and dread most about their mornings, afternoons and evenings in the fall. Engage them in discussions about what could make transitions easier. Here is a sheet to help you brainstorm.
Tip #3: Organize Supplies
Whether or not your kids are going to school or homeschooling, organizing supplies is key to helping everyone feel ready. It also will save you the stress of hunting for things. Make sure to include your kids in the process of obtaining and organizing their supplies. Have them make a checklist of the things they feel they need and incorporate it with what the school has indicated is needed or what you as a homeschooling parent feel is required. If your child enjoys arts and crafts or other hobbies requiring supplies, be sure to include those on your lists.
Tip #4: Relaxation Stations
Having spaces for your kids to de-stress and blow off steam will be helpful in navigating the increased anxiety they may be feeling as a result of schooling during a pandemic. Making a cozy corner with a soft blanket and a bin of books could be a great spot for kids to read and relax when they are feeling overwhelmed. You could also have a cupboard of calming sensory materials such as slime, water beads, and kinetic sand that could be used at a nearby table. Or try creating a small workout space with an exercise bike, skipping ropes and other equipment so they can use movement to burn extra physical energy.
Tip #5: A Checklist that Gives them Control
This year kids don't have as much freedom or control over their world. They might have mixed feelings about either going to school, or suddenly homeschooling, or homeschooling without going out to activities. It is important to show your kids during this stressful time that you see them as capable, resourceful and resilient enough to be a part of making their educational experience the best it can be. Show them how much they can decide about their destiny by sharing The Confident Kids School Prep Checklist.
There will be many more things that you can do over the next couple of weeks to Cloak your Kids in Confidence so that they can have the best school year possible. Join our Free video series with an accompanying parent/child workbook delivered conveniently to your inbox and be secure in the knowledge that you have done everything you can to make sure your kids are excited and confident about their year. Click here or below to register!