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How can I prepare my child for the first day of school?

We are all looking forward to the first day of school after being away for seventeen months. As an educator, many thoughts pop into my mind when thinking about going back to school. As a parent, I feel there is a wide range of emotions in all of us. At times, I feel anxious. We can cope with anxiety by being informed and plan accordingly. Preparation is key to making the transition to school during the coronavirus pandemic smooth for you and your children. Here's how to talk to your kids about what they can expect this year.

1. Show a positive attitude
Parents’ attitudes towards education play a huge role in the learning and academic success of their children. A parent's interest and encouragement in a child's education can affect the child's attitude toward school, classroom conduct, self-esteem, absenteeism, and motivation. Studies show that students whose parents have a positive attitude towards learning and education perform better in school than students whose parents have a negative attitude towards learning and education. Therefore, as parents, we need to model a positive attitude toward school. Take some time this weekend to talk to your children about their expectations, desires, and hopes for the first day of school. Share a personal positive experience of one of your first days of school. Make sure your verbal and nonverbal communication are in sync with a positive attitude. Play it cool, you don’t want to transmit anxiety. Make sure you take some time to help them organize their school supplies and be ready for the first day of school. Your optimism will show that school can be exciting and interesting! 

2. Talk over school health protocols
ASFM has created a COVID-19 Community Wellbeing Policy to ensure that all stakeholders are working as a team to keep each other healthy.  Get ready to talk to your children about the school health protocols by reading the COVID-19 Community Wellbeing Policy. Start the conversation by sharing the following ASFM On-Campus Measures: daily temperature checks, social distancing, face-coverings/ masks, and enhanced sanitation routines. The American Academy of Pediatrics says everyone in schools should wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. This is an ASFM health expectation, therefore, all students will be required to wear a mask. Practice Family At Home Safety Measures: hand washing for 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer regularly, and wearing face masks when leaving home. By doing so, students will adapt easily to their new school environment.

3. Prepare them for social distancing 
Evidence has proven that social distancing measures are an effective means of reducing transmission and delaying the spread of the Coronavirus. Social distancing will be highly recommended at school. Talk to your kids about what social distancing looks like. The American Academy of Pediatrics supported by the CDC suggests 3 feet and wearing a mask is safe in schools. You can look for ways to help your kids visualize the appropriate distance. An idea might be to demonstrate to your kids how far saliva can travel when talking, shouting, singing, or sneezing. You can Google it for a visual demo. Practice social distancing at home and the right use of masks. Make sure your preschool child is able to put on the mask and is able to leave it on for a period of time. 

4. Keep in mind that your child might need some time to adjust
We are all excited to be face-to-face for the first time after seventeen months. Things are going to be different but it’s a great opportunity for us to get back together again, see our friends and get to know our teachers. Parents need to help their children be realistic about the experience and remind them to be flexible and open-minded. Your children might feel uncomfortable because they may not understand the situation or they don’t know what to do. You can remind your child to ask for help or clarification. It is ok to ask for help or support as needed. ASFM is a safe and caring environment for ALL!  

With a Caring Heart,
Gaby Maiz
Eagle Parent UniversityDirector

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