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School is back in session, and for most of the country, school is back in person. For many families, this is the moment everyone has been waiting for since March 2020, but on the other hand, many parents are still working from home.
With the kids out of the house, distractions will be narrowing down during the workday. However, it brings back the days of planning and scheduling, making sure that someone is there to drop them off in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon, assist with homework, drive to practice, etc.
As kids go back to their normal activities, it can get overwhelming at times trying to keep track of their new schedules and your own. Here are some tips to get back in the school year groove as in person school returns while remote work protocols are still in place.
Communicate and be transparent about changes in schedule
With everything back in action, including sports and extracurricular activities at school, carpools have indeed returned with it, and with many parents still working from home, everyone wants to chip in. In addition, with less travel and commutes, it feels easier to get involved.
However, schedules can change on the fly and can make carpool unpredictable. If you’re in a situation where you can’t make it in time for pickup or drop off, make sure you have a plan B. Find a friend or a neighbor to help if your schedule changes and notify both the school and your kids about it.
As important as it about being transparent about schedule changes with your kids, it is just important to notify your colleagues and supervisors if you need to postpone or cancel a meeting because your home schedule changes. Home emergencies happen and should be taken care of in a timely manner and your colleagues will be understanding if it happens.
Remind your kids of your own work schedule
Work from home distractions are not going away as fast as parents would like. While the kids are gone part of the day, with school back in session they’re still going to be rambunctious as ever.
Just like when the pandemic started, it is essential to remind your kids about your work schedule, when you have meetings, video conferences, one-on-ones, or if you need some quiet time to concentrate.
Post a schedule on the fridge or an area of your house where everyone can see it, so there is no confusion when you need to get some work done. It can also serve as a reminder of what everyone else is up to so you can plan your day accordingly.
Of course, some situations need immediate attention at home, which should be taken care of. Try coming up with hand signals and code words for emergencies. If you have older kids, tell them to text you if they need something to lessen the distractions and make sure to let them know if they need to wait.
Many kids will be anxious returning to in-person classes with the pandemic going on, and that’s completely normal. Feeling nervous about entering a new environment or an unfamiliar situation happens all the time, and it is vital to be there every step of the way to help make the transition smooth and stress-free. Especially for teenagers, remind them that you’re always there for them if they need to talk and not to be scared to talk about their problems with you.
For kids nervous to return to school, rehearse a new morning routine with them. This can help with kids starting a new school this fall or for those with the first-day jitters to be prepared for the start of the day. Help them pre-pack their backpack with new school supplies, notebooks, and folders, ask them what they want for breakfast, what they want to be packed for lunch, and plan what outfit their want to wear. Also, set a bedtime and wake-up schedule to help them adjust and get ready to start the day. Create fun new traditions for before and after school like a special “hello/goodbye” hug, a secret handshake for the little ones, or a special after-school snack.
To help with anxiety, parents should express confidence in their kids and remind them that they’re ready to go back and that they’re going to be okay.
Transitions will always be overwhelming at first, but having a plan, open communication, and keeping a schedule should help both you and your kids conquer the first day jitters and make it a breeze.
August 27, 2021