The back to school season for 2020-2021 has taken on a different look and feel from previous years. Parents everywhere have been in discussions about reopening plans, remote vs. in-person school decisions, and are staying on top of news from teachers and administrators more than ever. A time of year that has been routine and even celebratory for parents is looking different in every school community. In a typical year, once summer ends, it can feel good to settle back into a normal schedule including back to school routines. It’s important to acknowledge that this year is different and to identify ways parents can practice preparedness and self-care.
We’ve gathered 4 tips for parents as they partner up with Cotting School – or any school – during a year that is anything but typical:
Read School Plans and Safety Protocols
Whether your child will be doing in-person learning, remote learning or a hybrid of the two – it’s clear that this year will not be a typical school year. For all schools in Massachusetts this has meant very detailed plans involving procedures, safety protocols, and new routines including phases of being “open”.
As a parent it will be beneficial for you to familiarize yourself with your child’s school reopening plan, safety protocols, and learning options for the year. Read all the communication sent out to you and take the time to process it and most importantly, reach out with any questions! For you to feel confident about making a decision and to guide your child through this new normal, you will need a clear understanding of the options, guidance, and regulations in place.
When it comes to deciding on how your child will participate in school this year, as a parent you have to make the best decision for your child and your family. With a firm grasp on your options, making your decision may be a bit easier!
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Communication is key! While it can feel like everything is different this year, not everything has changed. You are still going to be a partner in your child’s education, along with your child’s school team.
Regardless of where your child will be learning this year, it’s important to keep the lines of school communication open. Work to establish a clear communication plan with your child’s teacher and school team. Teachers need to know your preferred method of communication. You’ll be able to provide them with information on your child’s interests, concerns, and motivations – all of which will come into play during a school day.
Stay Informed, But Sane
While it’s important to stay informed about all that is happening in our world and in the news, it’s also important to protect yourself from information overload. This might mean limiting or managing your usual habits for news intake.
Staying up-to-date on news developments is important, but an overload on news intake can lead to an increase in anxiety and fear which isn’t good for your mental health. Give yourself a break, after all, you’re already doing so much extra reading of notices and updates from your child’s school.
Just as you encourage your child to take a break when needed, you can give yourself permission to do the same. In addition to taking precautions such as mask wearing and hand washing, it is important to stay connected with friends, build time in your day for movement, get outdoors when possible, and get enough sleep.
It’s amazing how prioritizing your own wellbeing and mental health can offer a boost. By showing your child how you take care of yourself, you are encouraging them to do the same.
You play an important role in your child’s educational journey under normal circumstances, but you play an even more critical role during this unusual year. Be sure to focus on yourself this back to school season and share these tips with another parent you know!
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HOPEhouse, a boarding program on the campus of Cotting School, offers an educational focus to support young adults in their experience living in a group, working together to learn independent living skills, and collaborating with their peers in a home-like supportive environment.