The return to physical school is going to require a lot more from your child than waking up early. They will have to re-learn the social and school rules for behavior and movement within the classroom. There will be new guidelines to follow for social distancing and sanitation. The very fact of needing to sit still and seek permission to use the bathroom will be a jarring part of the transition that may take some time for them to get used to once again.
Some parents have even found that their kids’ school is no longer compatible with their learning needs. Having firsthand experience with your child’s attempts to seek education has likely given you a better idea of what kind of guidance they need from teachers. It would not go amiss for you to enroll your kid in a new high school.
The transition back to their old school will feel very much like going to a new school. It may actually help them explore a new learning environment where they do not have preconceived notions of their abilities to overcome. They will be free to pursue their learning goals at their pace and interest level.
Whichever route you choose to go with, there are some ways to make the transition back to physical school a little easier for you and your kid. Some of these will be a return to the way you helped them manage their schedule before. This should make it easier as it is a routine they have experienced and can hopefully re-learn more easily. This will bolster their confidence that they can re-learn how to be at school with success as well.
School-based Sleep Schedule
Start them off on returning to a school-comparable sleep schedule in stages. Children need a lot of sleep for their brains to function optimally. Switching them to a sleep schedule that wakes them up earlier too suddenly will leave them lethargic and irritable.
You want them to deal with the change in as calm a manner as possible, and causing them discomfort is sure to leave them unwilling and stressed about returning to school. Start waking them up a half-hour earlier every week. Send them to bed a half-hour earlier as well, but do not insist they sleep. Over time, the earlier wake-up time will cause them to fall asleep earlier and earlier without too much pushing on your part.
If you begin this new schedule ahead of the transition, then your child will be ready and able to meet the first day back to school without too much trouble. They will be awake and alert and better able to manage their nerves.
Enforce a Morning Routine
Virtual school does not require a strict routine on the part of your kids before they sit down at the computer. As long as they are on time and dressed, they have fulfilled the basic requirements of being ready for online school.
Physical school requires so much more effort from them. The best way to get them back into following a structured morning routine is to begin enforcing one at home. First, get them adjusted to the new sleep schedule. Then, give them a list of tasks to complete before sitting down for class.
List down the tasks and paste them up in prominent spaces like your child’s noticeboard in their room and on the fridge. This way, they know what they are supposed to do and have fewer excuses for forgetting. You can also go over the tasks and reinforce the importance of completing them.
Adapt Your Schedule
In the rush to plan out an easier transition for your kid, you may forget that your schedule needs to accommodate their changing needs. Will you have to return to the office? If yes, do you need to arrange for child care after school? Can you drop them off at school, or is the bus route going to be back on?
If you continue working from home, how will you manage your child’s drop-off to school and return home? Can you still find time to supervise their homework? How do you continue family activities that your kid has come to enjoy during this time?
All these and more are questions you will have to consider and find answers before the school year begins. Luckily, you have all summer to figure out the answers.
Find out if the school plans to have a meet and greet with the teachers. If yes, ensure you put it in the schedule and attend with your child. If not, then suggest the idea to the school and volunteer to organize it yourself.
Though it will be virtual, it can help your child a great deal to put a face to the teachers’ names. They will get to see the teachers give short descriptions of their intentions for the school year, hear about lesson plans, and get a general feel for the personality of their teachers.
It is also a good opportunity for you to meet the people involved in helping your child have a safe and stable transition back to school. This virtual meet and greet will allow you to get a feel for your kids’ homeroom teacher, ask the school counselors questions, and hear the principal’s plans for integration and support.