The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for children and their families. However, this year has brought stress and uncertainty to many families as we tackle the global pandemic COVID-19.
If the school district reopens for in-person learning, do I send my child to school? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Or do I choose to continue distance learning in the name of health and safety but deny my child the important social interactions of school? These are some of the questions that parents have been asking themselves, which were recently answered by local school districts.
M-DCPS announced that it will start the school year for students, on August 31st by remotely using the new My School Online (MSO) model until September 30th. Parent and student orientations will be provided August 24-28. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s principal for help, information and services being offered to better prepare for this school year. The district will reassess COVID-19 conditions and notify the community as to whether school doors open for October 5th based on local conditions or continue with the remote model.
There are certain things you can do to make this transition to virtual learning easier for your child. Here are some tips you can follow:
• Open Communication: You can help your children feel at ease by having an open conversation about what is worrying them and letting the children know that it’s natural to feel anxious. Be honest and explain some of the changes they might be facing as they begin next school year remotely.
• Emotional Awareness: Children may feel unsettled by the changes in school routine or pick up on the fact that people around them are worried and anxious. So, remember to check in with your kids periodically and give them the chance to process all their feelings. Provide tools to help identify those feelings at home. Being able to identify their feelings helps them understand and cope with everyday anxiety.
• Routines: A couple of weeks before your children begin schooling (virtually), make sure to begin practicing the routine schedule and set up expectations for your children. That means waking up at your normal time, getting dressed, and eating breakfast before starting the day. The beginning of virtual schooling will be adapting to their new environment of study. Routines provide our children a sense of safety and comfort. All of these feelings will help them gain confidence, independence and motivation.
• Play vs. Screen Time: As parents embark in virtual school, instead of being concerned about how much children are exposed to screens due to virtual learning, focus on how they are engaging with it. Ask yourself whether your children are doing enough of other activities such as: reading, exercising, creative projects, one-to-one interaction, etc.
• Quality Time: Children may find it difficult being physically distanced from friends and teachers while at school; encourage them to think about other ways to bond and stay connected. As parents, providing quality time at home will make a tremendous difference in our relationship with our children and the way they cope with this new learning model. Quality time can be as simple as a bedtime story, or a short conversation on how they’re feeling.
Without a doubt, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought a cloud of uncertainty to how we move forward with the education of our children. But if we properly prepare ourselves and plan ahead you can make this experience much more enjoyable for your child.
Throughout this process emphasize that it’s important that we all follow the recommended measures to take care of more vulnerable members of our community. And remember that children are resilient; they might adjust faster than you think, so stay positive and plan ahead!
To learn more about back-to-school tips and other educational resources, check out @pixiedreams.inc Instagram account where you will be inspired to learn and share the love for education!
Haz clic para leer en Español: Preparándonos para el inicio de clases con el COVID-19