Back-to-school anxiety is common in both parents and children. From dealing with new challenges to new teachers and classes, list goes on and on. 2020 has introduced a new contributor to that anxiety: e-learning. The sudden transition to e-learning in the spring posed many issues for parents and teachers. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to best support their children and students (and how to maintain their own sanity!). In today’s blog, we will explore tips to help set you and your child up for success in the new school year.
Designate a learning space.
Setting up an e-learning space in the middle of your living or dining room probably isn’t the most efficient place for your child to learn. As we adults have transitioned to working from home, we know how frustrating it can be to focus on our work with multiple distractions in our environment. It’s even worse for our kids, especially those who may struggle with attention difficulties in the school setting. It’s important to establish a space that is only for learning, without clutter and potential distractions. This may look like having a “learning station” in their bedroom, or clearing the table and turning off the TV for the duration of their school day. Adapting the home environment to mimic a school environment to the best of your ability will help your child with focus and concentration.
Identify and remove barriers to learning.
If your child has learning difficulties, it is more important than ever to maintain communication with their teachers and review the materials they are given. Here are some questions to consider:
What options are teachers offering to help struggling readers with written material?
What options does your child have to demonstrate understanding? For example, if your child has trouble writing, ask the teacher if your child can send a video response.
Is the teacher including supports to help kids with things like getting organized, identifying the main idea, and taking notes? (1)
How can you best advocate for your child’s specific needs?
Schedules and routines.
Maintaining a consistent schedule is key for your child’s success this school year. Without the structure of a normal school day, it’s easy for your child to wake up whenever they want, begin their schoolwork at random times, or not do their work at all. Develop a schedule with your child that includes a designated wake-up time, a class schedule, time for homework, and more importantly – breaks and time to get some exercise and movement. Knowing what to expect will help your child feel more confident and less anxious, and will have the added benefit of helping you figure out your day around their schedule.
Utilizing these tips will hopefully lead to a less stressful back-to-school experience for your household. Feel free to explore our other blog posts on how to appropriately manage anxiety and stress in both yourself and your child, take a deep breath, and most importantly – remember that you got this, mom and dad!