Returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic means that both kids and parents will need to adjust to new rules and routines. Whether it’s wearing face masks, socially distancing, or returning to school on a part-time basis – change is inevitable this year. It’s understandable for kids (and their parents) to feel anxious about returning to school in the current environment.
Here are some tips to help transition back to school from CDSPI Home & Auto Insurance* partner, The Personal.
Tips for getting kids ready for back-to-school
No matter what age, many kids are apprehensive about starting school or returning to school – and this will especially heighten during the pandemic. First and foremost, it’s important to have age-appropriate conversations with your child about their fears or concerns surrounding COVID-19. There are also many other ways you can ease their minds and help prepare them for a new school year.
1. Early to bed, early to rise
Getting back into a sleep schedule won’t happen overnight! A few weeks before school starts, get your child into the habit of going to bed earlier. Gentle winding-down activities such as bath time and reading before bed can help your child relax.
2. Re-establish a routine
Establishing a consistent routine is important for kids. Write out the steps in the routine and rehearse them with your child. In the evening, this could include doing homework, playtime, brushing their teeth, having a bath, and reading before bed.
3. Encourage independence
Children who play an active role in preparing for back to school – such as choosing and organizing school supplies and new clothes – are more likely to get excited about going back to school, which in turn eases their jitters. Is your child old enough for chores like emptying the dishwasher or making lunches? Daily, age-appropriate tasks will help your child gain independence and confidence.
4. Choose the right backpack
Backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly could result in muscle strain, headaches, and neck pain. Try to choose a backpack made of sturdy, lightweight fabric with wide, padded straps that will support your child’s shoulders. Watch that they don’t sling it over just one shoulder.
5. Talk about safety
Review outdoor safety rules – things like looking both ways before crossing the street, taking the same route every day if they are walking, familiarizing themselves with crosswalk rules, and being cautious in talking to strangers.
6. Establish healthy habits
Involve your children in choosing and preparing healthy lunches and snacks. Help them find physical activities they enjoy. Take them shopping for healthy snacks and lunch items they can pack themselves. Try to stick to regular meal times.
7. Limit screen time
Back to school is the perfect opportunity to re-establish screen time limits. Why not have the whole family “unplug” in the evenings before bedtime? Choose a spot where everybody can charge their devices overnight. Use an alarm clock instead of a cellphone to wake up in the mornings.
8. Map it out
If your kids are starting at a new school, practice walking or driving to the bus stop or to the school building a week or two before school starts. You could even play in the school park before school starts. This will create fun memories associated with school before summer ends.
9. Talk about first-week jitters
Reassure your child that being nervous is natural – even for teachers. You can help your child cope with these feelings when you:
- Let them express their fears. Perhaps you can offer stories of your own first-day jitters when you were a child.
- Teach them to breathe deeply and slowly to calm their nerves.
- Discuss the scenarios that worry them. For example, if they’re worried about who to talk to on the first day, help them plan a strategy and rehearse it so they’ll know what to do.
10. Celebrate the start of a new school year
If you celebrate the first day of school, your kids will see back-to-school as a transition they can really enjoy. Try a back-to-school party the day before school starts, complete with cake, balloons and educational gifts. And don’t forget to take a picture on the front step in their first-day-of-school outfits. It’s going to be a great year!
Your family’s safety is always top of mind – at school, at work, and at home. CDSPI Home Insurance offers exclusive rates, customizable coverage, and excellent client experience. To find out how this can benefit you, contact a CDSPI insurance advisor today.
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*CDSPI Home & Auto Insurance is underwritten by The Personal Insurance Company and is distributed by CDSPI Advisory Services Inc. Home Insurance is not currently available to residents of Quebec.