Summer in the northern hemisphere has flown by, and though it may seem hard to believe, kids are already starting to head back to school. For some, it will be their first time in a new environment—graduating from middle school to high school, high school to college, or starting at a new school entirely. These are, of course, exciting and intimidating new experiences for students themselves, but it can feel the same way for parents as well. And if you’re the parent of a high-school-aged kid, it may help to know that you’re not alone in your concerns. After all,
misery unfamiliarity loves company! So we’ve made surviving the back-to-school season that much easier by providing a few tips and tricks to keep up your sleeve.
What makes this back to school season different?
Back-to-school planning was once an annual end-of-summer ritual, but the pandemic upended that tradition in 2020. Now, the kinds of things parents took for granted about back-to-school experiences may look considerably different. Safety and health recommendations are likely to still continue to evolve, and there’s undoubtedly always more change around the corner, so the best way to forge ahead this year is with the acknowledgment that unpredictability is simply part of the new normal. Expect the unexpected and incorporate that preparedness into your school survival guide. That can include steps like:
- Have a plan in place in the event of another outbreak or similar health concern. Be prepared in case you need to keep your child home for remote learning if there is an outbreak.
- Stay in contact with other parents at your child’s school in order to provide information and support. They can let you know about developments and provide possible help in the form of at-home tutors, carpooling, study groups, and similar shared resources.
- Ensure you are familiar with the school’s current protocols and requirements.
- Speak with your child about any concerns and worries they might have about what this school year might look like for them.
Help your kids adjust to the changes
COVID-19 upended day-to-day life, and in many respects, we’re still picking up the pieces. Even if your child’s school has mostly reverted to its pre-2020 rhythms, things may still feel different if only because we’re all a bit out of practice. Kids each handle changes in their own way, and only you know how yours will adjust. But always be aware that even if things seem like they’re back to “normal,” your child may be experiencing thoughts and feelings under the surface that are anything but.
Make sure your kids feel confident expressing their feelings to you and know that they can talk to you if they’re having trouble—and support them in seeking ways to resolve any issues that do come up. Understand that you may need to shift your own schedule unexpectedly or prepare for virtual classes and similar disruptions. Setting up a virtual learning schedule ahead of time—even if you don’t anticipate needing to use it—can help you and your kids handle the impact of unexpected events more readily.
Implement health and safety measures
Between COVID-19 still circulating, new illnesses cropping up, and getting back into the swing of dealing with those pesky ol’ “regular” illnesses like seasonal colds and flu, etc, the likelihood of getting sick remains high this school year. While restrictions may be lifting in many places, there are still recommended health and safety protocols for you and your family to keep in mind. Most are simple enough: Wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing at school, and consider wearing masks and other protective measures outside the home. Maintaining these standards for your household can help hedge against getting sick and protect not only your family’s health but the stability and predictability of your routine—even if school schedules were to change at a moment’s notice.
Power tip: Health and safety protocols can be a lot for kids to absorb, especially if they come on top of schoolwork and other things they need to keep track of. Detailed checklists in Evernote can help you present this information to them in a clear, logical way so they understand exactly what they need to do to stay healthy and safe.
We get it!
This year’s back-to-school season can feel frustrating. Circumstances are still so new, and there isn’t a whole lot of precedent to fall back on. But as we’ve witnessed innumerable times over recent years, humans are resilient and can adjust very quickly. While we hope that circumstances only continue to improve, it’s always better to anticipate and prepare for the unexpected. A school survival guide that accounts for things like surprise closures, virtual learning, and all other aspects of the new normal can be invaluable in navigating the challenges.
Back to school shouldn’t mean back to stress
Change can be scary, but the changes of the last few years don’t necessarily have to interfere with your kids’ learning and growth. While challenging situations will continue to arise, new technology exists to help you counter them, putting superior organizational capacity right at your fingertips so you can power through challenging situations. Apps like Evernote help you communicate changes quickly and keep everyone on top of sudden changes—the only way to navigate back-to-school in 2022.