Is it just me or did that feel like a really, really long holiday break?
It has been a very strange start of the year – but as schools are poised to resume face-to-face classes, establishing proper habits and routines now will really make this transition so much easier for you and your child.
Here are three tips I recommend to all parents at the end of any large break from school – whether it be at the end of the Summer holidays or in an unexpected worldwide pandemic:
1. Normalise their sleeping patterns.
If you are anything like me, you’ve been far more lenient with bed times over the last 2 months. They didn’t have to be up at 7am to catch a bus to school, so letting them stay up for an extra episode of their favourite show didn’t seem to hurt anyone.
Children are all about patterns and habits – and regulating their sleeping routine is so important to making the transition back to early mornings and full days at school smooth. Research by The Sleep Council (UK) suggest that children aged 7-12 should get 10-11 hours of quality sleep per night, with those between 12-18 aiming for 8 to 9 hours. Knowing these goals and what time they will need to wake up for school, adjust their bed time accordingly – keeping in mind these are the numbers for quality, deep sleep – so allow enough time for them to read and unwind before bed.
We all sleep better when we get the right amount of sleep. I am sure there will be some tired students in classrooms for the next month – but prevent your child from being one of them by adjusting their sleeping patterns now.
2. Resume healthy routines from day one
We are expecting homework and assignments to kick off on the first day back – given the amount of valuable learning time students would have missed out on. Rather than letting them ease back in to things, we suggest establishing healthy and productive routines from the start. After school, set them up at their homework table and get them to do 30 minutes of self-paced study. Before bed, get them to lay out their uniform for the next day. Whatever your routine was that you had in place before CV-19; don’t wait to get this going again. Despite what they may express at times, kids love routine. They thrive on knowing what to do and what to expect – so make this transition easy for them by establishing those routines as standard from day one.
3. Give them more attention that you normally would
In times of uncertainty and change, children tend to seek the presence of their parents – a source of comfort and dependability. It is going to be very easy for us as parents to send the kids back to school and embrace the new-found freedom, however, I would suggest giving each of our children a little more quality time than we would normally do during the school term and ensure their emotional needs are being met.
For many young people, they may not have interacted with other students for a long time. They may not have left the security of home since this whole thing started. So suddenly sending them out in to the world again could be a significant event for them.
Best of luck as you make this transition back to school. I hope that despite the chaos of the last few months it becomes something that, one day in the future, we can look back on as a time of creating beautiful family memories.