Ways to help your kids get ready for another pandemic school year

SPOKANE, Wash –  In just a few days, students will be sitting at desks, ready to learn, and there are some things you can do to help prepare them.

It’s an exciting thought for families, as students will get to go back to school every day again. Summer is winding down once again in Spokane and now it’s time to get them ready for the first day of class.

Students didn’t have a whole lot of structure last year, moving from online learning to hybrid schedules then for some, full-time.

Providence pediatrician Ann Roberts says it’s best to get your kids back into a routine and that includes fixing their sleep schedule. If possible, start having them go to bed early. Parents can try tucking their kids in an hour earlier each night before the first day of school.

“Trying to get them to wake up every morning around the same time they may be getting up during the school year would be beneficial for them as well. Just get them back into their routine,” Roberts said. “A good breakfast is also really important, too.”

Kids have been maskless all summer, but now, it’s time for them to put them back on and wear them all day. Students won’t have to wear masks while eating or outside anymore, but they will have to keep them on for the rest of the day.

Providence family therapist Katie Anderson says to prepare kids for masks again, have them practice wearing them for a few hours. Finding masks that match their outfit could also excite them.

The first day of school may bring some nerves for some students. Anderson suggests families try dry runs of a school routine like go through the motions of getting ready in the morning and walk or drive to a school like they would on a normal day.

Kids have been through a lot this last year-and-a-half and so have parents. If they’re feeling stressed or anxious, know that kids could feel it too.

“It’s really important to find ways of calming your body down because your child is going to follow your lead,” Anderson said.

While students do get to start the school year going in-person every day, know that things could change. We’re still in a pandemic and things can change instantly.

“Parents helping prepare their children that there may be a flex here, and here’s how we’re going to make that work, kids can follow that lead,” Anderson added.

Anderson said kids are resilient and they are understanding if things do have to change. They’ve had to go along with the punches for the last year-and-a-half, and they will continue to do that.

In talking with kids, Anderson believes kids are adaptable and thinks “they’re better at this than adults.” Experts say kids do well when they’re in school, and that’s why Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Health are requiring schools to open full-time this year.

Masks and vaccines have been controversial for the last year-and-a-half, and Anderson says those are the best things to keep kids in school.

“Whether or not a person believes in that, the system where you want your kid to access, your kid benefits from, demands it,” she said. “So, buy in for the sake of your kid. Give them that access, even if you yourself struggle with it. Buy in and support your child.”

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