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A Back-to-School Guide for These Unconventional Times

mother putting a face mask on her daughter

This year, back-to-school season is all about getting ready for a school year that promises to be unlike any other. Here’s a  guide to helping your child prepare for the new school year in these unconventional times.

Talk to your child about what to expect

The more your child knows about the dynamics of the upcoming school year, the better off they’ll be. As the situation evolves, and you learn more details about the year’s schooling, speak to your child about what to expect.

Create a back-from-school protocol to keep your home safe

If your child will be going back to school full-time, or even partially, it’s important to establish a sanitizing ritual for them to adhere to when they walk through the front door after school each day.

“When children return from school, they should immediately sanitize their hands,” advises board-certified pediatrician Dr. Candice W. Jones. “Once at home, at the very least, they should remove clothes/shoes and place them in the laundry, or in a designated safe place for disinfecting. A shower would be great, but is not absolutely necessary.”

Zoom in on remote schooling

Dr. Linda Carling, an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, shares these tips for helping children succeed at remote learning:

  • Encourage movement. Squeeze in some stretching breaks throughout the school day and pencil in larger chunks of time for longer exercises.
  • Reduce distractions. Create a distraction-free zone for your child’s learning to help boost their focus.
  • Adjust your schedule as needed.  If possible, adjust your own schedule so you can be on hand to help your child with their remote learning as necessary.
  • Provide immediate positive feedback. Each time your child successfully follows instructions, provide immediate and positive feedback.

Help your child prepare for face mask wearing while at school

It’s best to start with modeling positivity. Though you may find it difficult to wear a mask yourself, you can help your child build up a positive attitude about mask-wearing by talking to them about how your mask is keeping you and others safe. Secondly, it’s a good idea to practice mask-wearing at home. This will help your child grow accustomed to wearing a mask and help to ensure your child is wearing it correctly.

Make mask-wearing easier for the sensory child by finding the most comfortable style, whether that’s a classic ear-loop mask, a bandanna-style covering or a neck gaiter. Extenders or button headbands can also be a welcome relief for irritated ears. Finally, make masks fun by choosing a child-friendly pattern.

Get the school year off to a great start with these helpful tips for you and your child.

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