Derailed Learning: Getting Your Kid Back on Track

Returning to physical school will require much 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 fact that they need to sit still and seek permission to use the bathroom will be a jarring part of the transition, and it may take some time for them to get used to it 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 like going to a new one. It may 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 own pace and interest level.

Whichever route you choose to take, there are some ways to make the transition back to physical school a little easier for you and your kid. Some of these will involve returning 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 also re-learn how to be at school with success.              

School-based Sleep Schedule

Start them off by 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 as calmly 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. Please also send them to bed a half-hour earlier, 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 on 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 for your kids before they sit at the computer. As long as they are on time and dressed, they have fulfilled the basic requirements of being ready for an online school.

The physical school requires so much more effort from them. The best way to get them back into following a structured morning routine is to enforce one at home. First, get them adjusted to the new sleep schedule. Then, please give them a list of tasks to complete before class.

List the tasks and paste them in prominent spaces like your child’s noticeboard in their room and the fridge. This way, they know what they are supposed to do and have fewer excuses for forgetting. You can also review the tasks and reinforce the importance of completing them.

Adapt Your Schedule

In a rush to plan an easier transition for your kid, you may forget that your schedule must accommodate their changing needs. Will you have to return to the office? If yes, do you need to arrange for childcare after school? Can you drop them off at school, or will the bus route 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?

You will have to consider and find answers to all these questions 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, suggest the idea to the school and volunteer to organize it yourself.

Though it will be virtual, it can help your child greatly by putting a face to the teachers’ names. They will see the teachers give short descriptions of their intentions for the school year, hear about lesson plans, and get a general feel for their personalities.

It is also a good opportunity 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.

Jessica J. Underwood
Subtly charming explorer. Pop culture practitioner. Creator. Web guru. Food advocate. Typical travel maven. Zombie fanatic. Problem solver. Was quite successful at developing wooden tops in the aftermarket. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting glucose in Bethesda, MD. Had moderate success managing action figures in New York, NY. Set new standards for selling crayon art in Salisbury, MD. In 2009 I was getting my feet wet with sock monkeys for the underprivileged. Spoke at an international conference about merchandising toy elephants in Nigeria.