As we start to embark on what will most definitely be an unconventional school year, there are ways that we can prepare ourselves and our children to work through what comes our way as we head back to school. Here are 5 helpful tips from a preschool teacher to consider:
1. Model a Positive Mindset
Our children will mirror our behavior and attitude about almost everything in life. This is a great time to teach our children that things are not always going to be easy, things may not always go our way, and sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. But, we can always choose to make the best of it.
2. Talk About Risks & How to Stay Safe
School districts are working very hard to create and implement safety procedures to keep the staff and children safe while attending school. These will include but not limit to sanitation stations, proper and frequent hand washing, extra cleaning and sanitizing and wearing face coverings.
Key to a successful year will be helping children understand the risks of spreading germs and what they can do to help prevent the spread. Explain to the children the risks in the simplest way possible and in a way that they can understand. Answer any questions they may have and validate any concerns they bring up. Be reassuring and let them know that there are real risks, but that there are ways we can stay safe.
3. Demonstrate “Bubble Glove” Handwashing
One way that we can help to ensure they are washing for the proper time and with the proper amount of soap is to teach them to make “bubble gloves.” This is a simple trick that will help ensure that they are getting all of those germs off their hands. “Bubble gloves” are created when the children take the soap and rub their hands together until it looks like they have “bubble gloves” on. It will take them some time to make sure that their hands are completely covered and to get all the bubbles off when rinsing. This will help ensure that they are washing for at least 20 seconds.
4. Discuss New Face Covering Routines
Masks may be required to be worn by school age children in schools and practice is going to be key. The more they wear them the more comfortable they are going to become with them. This is not going to go perfect at first but endurance is going to be another important part of mask wearing. As with any new habit, it is important to start off small. Have the children start by wearing them for short periods of time and then build from there. Starting this at home will give the children a safe environment, express their frustration and take a break when needed.
Make it fun. Kids are more comfortable with new things when it is introduced in a fun way. You can do this by letting them pick out their own masks. There are many sites out there that have fun and child focused patterns. You can also let them decorate their own masks and make them their own. The disposable masks are fabric and can be decorated with stickers and fabric markers. This will give them some sense of control and make it less scary for them.
Discuss breaks with them. Explain to them that if they need a break from the mask that they are making sure they are away from people and to just pull it down and take a few deep breaths.
*Note: Children of Tomorrow is NOT requiring children to wear masks at this time.
5. Build In Breaks
Schools schedule mental breaks for children and you should too. When in a virtual learning situation, children are not designed to sit still for long periods of time. When creating your routine, make sure to plan times for your children to take a break. During these breaks get them up and moving. These are perfect opportunities to go for a walk, play a game, go to the park or just let them have a play break.
Another way to break up the learning day is to do something creative. Let them work the other parts of their brains. Being creative is a great outlet for children and helps them express their emotions without having to talk about them. This is great for their mental health. This can be an art project or experiment of some sort. It just needs to be something that takes their minds off of all the schoolwork they have to do.
The most important thing we can remember as we head into the school year is that we are all striving to do our best. We are learning as we go and we need to allow ourselves, our children and our child’s teachers some grace to establish new routines and guidelines.
Let’s make this school year the best one yet!
Guest Blogger: Anna Bachman
6 Year Children of Tomorrow Educator
Children of Tomorrow Learning Centers
Chanhassen: 952.448.7829 | Carver 952.466.2603 | Norwood Young America: 952.467.2610 | Waconia: 952.443.9900