After the uncertainty and home learning challenges of 2020, back to school this Autumn will be the most unusual school year start yet!
To find out how parents feel about back to school, we teamed up with the online parenting community BritMums to have a #BacktoSchoolPlanning Twitter chat. We wanted to give parents a space where they could share their concerns and offer advice and encouragement.
The result was an engaging conversation with lots of parent-approved insights and tips. From concerns about the learning gap due to school closures to the best tips for preparing children for back to school, here’s what parents had to say.
The thought that our kids are missing out is enough to upset any parent. When it comes to what children have missed about school, two things came up with unsurprising regularity: friends and routine.
The social aspect of school is almost important as the lessons themselves. If your kids are missing their friends, consider arranging some opportunities for them to meet.
Socially-distanced fun might not be the fun they’re used to, but they probably won’t suffer as much as you think. They’ll also be able to work off their excitement before school starts! And if you’re concerned about COVID-19, you’ll be able to make sure the kids understand the importance of social distancing.
It might seem like a kindness to abandon routine at home, but you’d be surprised how much kids rely on it! Besides, expecting them to adhere to the school’s rigid routine without preparation just isn’t fair.
Don’t be afraid to introduce more routine into their lives. The comfort of knowing what will happen and when will put them at ease and better prepare them for school. It can also help you teach time to the little ones!
But it turns out that some kids were missing something else: the food!
It can be frustrating when your kids seem to prefer school dinners over your home-cooked food. But, on the bright side, they’ll be getting a more varied diet come September!
Has our teaching been up to snuff?
We’ve all needed to become amateur teachers of late, but not everyone has been as confident as others. When we asked what parents were worried about, many of them admitted to struggling to provide lessons in all the subjects, or even how to pitch their teaching to the right level.
Fred isn’t alone; we love maths and science, and it’s fantastic that he’s so excited by these subjects! It’s always difficult to engage a child (or an adult) in something they’re not interested in.
Try to blend the two subjects together. Perhaps Fred could write a report of a science experiment he’s conducted at home?
Fiona’s struggle is something we’ve all faced. But we can’t be too hard on ourselves. Your child’s teachers went through years of training to become good at their job. They won’t expect you to pick it up in just a few months!
We can also worry more than we need to. If you’re worried about a particular area of your child’s learning, you can see how they get on with our free home-learning activity sheets, which are divided by ages and activity.
And if you’re concerned about a gap in your child’s learning, just speak to their teacher. They’ll be able to adjust your child’s learning accordingly, and they’ll be back up to speed in no time.
What can you do to prepare your child (and yourself) for school?
Our kids have been at home for months now, and it’s going to be a huge change when the schools open again. We asked parents what they were doing to help their kids to prepare for that change, and were delighted to hear that some schools are working to make the transition easier.
These are fantastic ideas, and can really help to put your child’s mind at ease! Do your best to make use of these kinds of transitions if your child’s school is offering them. They’ll make the process easier for both of you!
But if these kinds of transition aren’t possible, don’t worry; there are other things you can do.
We love how Rebecca is tailoring her approach to her son’s strengths. Not every child (or adult, for that matter) learns the same way! Whether your child responds to visuals, sounds, words or numbers, introducing gentle daily reminders will help them get used to the idea of going to school.
But it’s important not to go over-the-top!
Christine has the right idea here. Your kids need a break from education in the same way we grown-ups need a break from work! But you can still keep those little minds sharp with educational play.
Do you have any tips for preparing our kids for the return to school? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – share your #BacktoSchoolPreparation tips and more find parent-approved ideas from other families.