From kindergarten and primary to secondary grade students, getting back to school brings a lot of excitement and thrill. Especially after the recent long break that has confined all of us into the houses, school-reopening brings a new smile on the students.
Though many institutions still practiced remote learning, students were missing group activities, on-site play, face-to-face interactions, and much more. As the schools re-open, parents are wondering how to go back to the routine.
At this time of the year when the bag packs are full of sanitizers, masks are mandatory, and students are learning in shifts, making a new learning schedule is imperative.
This might seem a bit difficult but following some useful tips can help your children in successfully starting the school after pandemic break. Let us see what these tips are:
1. Setting New Rules
In the last few months, children were more addicted to screen-time than ever before. Watching cartoons, playing games, and video-calling for long hours was a normal routine. Since children had no outdoor activity, parents gave a free-hand to kids in terms of technology as there was no other activity for the kids.
But now as things are coming back to normal, setting new limits, rules, and regulations is important. Here are a few rules that you can set at home:
• Limit Screen-Time
Excessive screen-time is the main reason behind the continuously decreasing attention span in children. Children who have more than 2 hours of screen-time each day show a lack of attention at school. Hence, they lag in academics as compared to their peers who have less screen time.
Thus, you need to limit screen time. However, a child who became addicted to screens during the lockdown may take some time in coming back to the previous routine. You cannot expect a child to play a video game for half an hour daily after playing the game for 5-6 hours for the last five months. Do it gradually. Cut down this time by half an hour every week. Eventually, the child will accept this new rule.
• Decide a Specific Study Time
Experts believe that homework improves the learning habits of students. It's because of the discipline, involvement, and time-scheduling of the students at home. No matter in which grade a child is, parents should decide a specific time for study. At this time, make sure that the child stays away from distractions. For instance, take away the cell phone, and let the besties know about the study time beforehand.
Besides this, there should be a specific place to study. Make this place comfortable with proper sitting arrangements and study supplies. If a child is big enough to clean the study space, it's a big plus. For instance, you can encourage them to take part in carpet cleaning, dusting the bookshelf, and organizing the study table, etc. These tasks will let the child get involved in the study space.
Even if the child does not get homework, assign them some learning tasks. For instance, assign a task to write a short essay on topics related to the recent pandemic. In other words, whether a child is getting school assignments or not, there should be no compromise on study time.
2. Set a New Bedtime
Before the re-opening of schools, children were waking and sleeping at odd hours. Since it is the time to get back to school, a proper bedtime is essential because sleep plays a great role in academic performance. Sleep-deprivation results in a lack of attention, and students miss out on important things during class lectures.
Therefore, a specific time should be selected for sleeping and waking up. Bedtime should be set in a way that a child can get 8-9 hours of sleep. Research shows that children from 6-12 years need at least 9-12 hours of sleep every day. So, a night of good sleep at the proper time is mandatory to wake up with a fresh mind.
Now, as far as waking up on time is concerned, it is essential to reach the school on time. Children sleeping late at night are unable to wake up early. This results in inconsistent school performance and a frustrated attitude. Thus, be sure that your child is sleeping on time and waking up at the right time. For this, you can set the alarm for both sleeping and wake time.
Bedtime alarm may seem like an unusual concept, but believe me, it works. It will remind the child to sleep, whereas waking time alarm will help in getting up on time. Expect inconsistency in getting back to this routine for a few weeks. However, with time your child will fall into the routine.
3.Healthy Breakfast is Essential for a Healthy Mind
Make sure that your child has a fulfilling and healthy breakfast at the start of each day. Students need a nutritious breakfast for better attention span, good memory, and an active brain. Since the students will be waking up early after a long break, they might show resistance in having breakfast.
However, don't give up! Offer different varieties of breakfast. Pay close attention to calories and be sure that the sugar content is less. Eggs, milk, cereals, and bread are some good options for breakfast. You can also give fresh juice of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and fiber-rich foods are also healthy choices for breakfast.
4.Support Your Kids and Make Creative Learning Strategies
Many students will struggle to get back into the groove after such a long hiatus. Parents should therefore show ample support. Though it might seem challenging, it is not impossible. Create a checklist and put it in the study room. You can also stick it on the refrigerator so that the child can see it at any time. Decide small goals as per the subject. Give rewards and motivate the children for their next task.
Do not be surprised if your child misses out on some concepts given at school. Children are going back to school after a big break, and attention problems are likely to happen. Give full support in clearing the concepts at home.
It would help if you created some strategies for effective learning, like activity-based learning tactics, learning games, worksheets, etc. Finding these learning games is not a big challenge. Download some learning apps like Science 360, Quick Math, Flow Free, etc. for effective learning.
Besides this, design some worksheets or download them from the internet. You can also learn about learning games. If your child is already having 2 hours of screen-time, do not increase it because of learning games. Instead, buy some games like monopoly and chess that gives good mathematical concepts to students.
Moreover, focus on indirect learning through household chores. For instance, involve your children in baking and cooking. Baking is great for understanding fractions, subtraction, and addition. Similarly, take children along for buying groceries. Grocery shopping also teaches a lot of new concepts.
You can also join various groups on social media and see what strategies other parents are using. Read different blogs and also get some ideas from YouTube channels. Math antics, Alpha Blocks, Numberock, and many other learning channels are available.
Additionally, you should stay in touch with school teachers. Teachers can guide you better regarding your child's performance. Discuss if there is any difference in the child's behavior after joining the school. Monthly follow-ups can highlight many things for your child's progress.
5.Allow Playtime and Show Unconditional Love
Undoubtedly, every student was off the track during the pandemic. Proper study time, reading, and writing schedules were not maintained. It might take some time to bring the children to their regular school-going schedules. However, it does not mean that playtime should be banned altogether. Playtime is far more important.
Yes, the physical activities and mental relaxation provided by playtime are essential to prepare them for critical thinking. Indoor games, block-building, and many others are essential. Similarly, outdoor sports and recreational activities are important for the physical fitness of students.
Furthermore, understand the fact that children have gone through and are still going through a stressful time. This lockdown and viral disease have distressed adults, so why would children be immune to its side effects. In some ways, children are more affected as they cannot socialize or live their lives normally since everything is closed.
Children who used to visit the school and play areas regularly can't do so anymore. Besides this, the stress of catching the pandemic, listening to depressing news, and practicing precautionary measures was a tough situation for school children. Thus, show unconditional love and help your child in getting back to normalcy. Your presence and participation mean a lot. Keep motivating and express love to build your child's confidence.
Stressed About The Post-COVID School Year? Not Anymore!
In short, children are more than ready to rejoin the school after a long gap. However, their academic performance may not be the same. Parents can adopt various strategies like limiting time for cartoons and video games, setting study and sleep rules, making creative learning strategies, and showing full support. In a month or a few, all students will get used to their new routine.
Be sure that the child is sanitizing hands and covering the face with a mask.