by Lindsay Adams
Never before have we experienced such a strange back-to-school season, and it seems to be changing by the minute, leaving us all on edge. Most schools in the Front Range are officially “back in session”, but that looks different depending on which District your child attends.
No matter what it looks like for you, whether it be virtual school, in-person school, in-person with a hybrid schedule, or perhaps homeschooling for the first time, we can all agree that the fact that it’s not what we anticipated, for many families, it is causing a lot of stress. Let’s all take a collective exhale and realize that although this may not be ideal, we have this in common. And, we should also recognize that this stress is being felt by school staff as well. So, while we may feel alone and inadequate at navigating this new normal, we are actually in good company. This may not help to ease the frustration, but it can help in moving past it to a place where we can find solutions.
Here are some tips that you and your family can use to start the school year strong:
- Stay positive
This may seem easier said than done, but simply working to change your mindset can go a long way to helping you problem solve more efficiently. It will also carry over to how your student views his/her new learning situation, and even more importantly set an overall example of how to deal with stress and change. Lastly, anger and frustration are foundations of stress and if they stew and linger they will remain in the body only to cause problems later. So this means it’s ok to vent to a trusted friend, or your spouse, but do not stay in that space. Take a breath and figure out why you truly feel the way you do and get to figuring out how to work through things.
- Ask questions
Remember that your child’s teacher is new at this too, and there isn’t a teacher out there that prefers what is happening now to having a classroom full of kids eager to learn in person. Figure out what the big hurdles are and formulate your questions to present to your child’s teacher in an email. If you don’t know their email address, contact the school. This is the best way to communicate with them, and it will allow them to determine if a personal meeting would be a good next step. Remember that your classroom teacher and school principal are committed to your child’s success and they will not know what your challenges are unless you communicate …to THEM, not your Facebook friends.
- Get clear
Although the many aspects of technology may seem overwhelming, and the details of what is expected of your child each day may be making your head spin, make time to get comfortable with all of the pieces. Troubleshooting secondary ways that you can log in to daily meetings, or just general “what-ifs” as much as you can ahead of time, will help with those last-minute panic attacks! Where are assignments stored? Where can we go for tech support? These are questions that are helpful to think through in advance. And remember, we are in this together, so asking another parent for help is always a good thing.
- Move forward
Perhaps you are one of the rare ones who is not challenged by your current school situation – you have it figured out and you are all humming right along. You saw this coming and spent the summer getting prepared. For most of us, this is not the case, but here we are. As with so many curveballs that have come our way as a result of this pandemic we have every right to feel all the feelings, but in the end, we are here and our willingness to make the best of it while we wait it out could make the difference for our own health, the health of our family, and our ability to help our children succeed this year.
Our ability to cope with change is directly related to our expectations. While it is my hope that this unusual school situation is temporary, I know that it is better for me to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Our children need to learn to flex, pivot and problem solve. They need to know that they have the skills to be successful. We are the most important examples to show them just that.
Lindsay Adams is a Firestone resident, blogger, and wellness resource for those seeking to bloom in their next chapter of life. Check out www.livingwellwithlinds.com for more great topics.