I wish I was writing this telling you that I’m homeschooling my kids for fall of 2021, but I’m not. Instead, I’m planning and uncertain back to school for my kids. Maybe you’re doing the same.
Even if you have a plan right now, the uncertainty of our times means that things could change in a moment. After all, we went on spring break in March expecting it to last 3 week, but never went back to school.
Planning an Uncertain Back to School – 10 Tips
That’s why I’m sharing some tips to help you plan for (and cope with) an uncertain back to school for your kids. You might be able to apply some of these tips to any plans you’re making, too.
You have to decide something
Even if it feels like your decisions can be overthrown at any minute, you still have to commit to a decision. If you’re debating homeschooling or sending your kids to school, for example, don’t try and have one foot in each door.
While you should expect that your plans can change it will be more unsettling to remain undecided until the last minute. You and the kids need time to mentally prepare for what’s to come.
Prepare the kids for possible changes
Just because you choose one thing doesn’t mean that it can’t change, though. Make sure the kids know about all the things that might happen. If things get bad classes might be cancelled.
If you’re choosing to homeschool temporarily, remind them that they will be going back to class at some point.
Make sure you’re all familiar with changes at the school
Everywhere is different, but one thing that’s true is almost every school isn’t back to normal this fall. Find out what’s different and make sure you’re well aware so you can explain it all to your kids.
Some common changes are required masks, staggered start times, cohorts, cancelling of extra curriculars, and alternate learning days
If you’re homeschooling, make sure your kids know what the routine will be like beforehand. Especially if it will differ from how things were in the spring.
Keep the routine as familiar as possible
With everything changing and out of control elsewhere it’s more important than ever to maintain strong routines at home. If there were certain before or after school rituals your family had before the pandemic, reintroduce those things or keep them going.
That goes for any kind of learning you’re doing this year.
The last thing you need right now is any extra chaos. Make sure your home, your family, and your routines are all organized so that back to school goes as smoothly as possible.
That especially goes for anything that’s new this year like masks.
Keep a few tricks up your sleeve
This seems a bit silly, but it’s really great as a parent to have some back up plans in case things go wrong. That might mean having everything you need in place to switch from in school learning to homeschooling suddenly, or having a little surprise to pull out at the end of a rough at home learning day.
Think about the big stuff, but also the little things like having extra school supplies.
Keeping in line with the last point, it’s also going to help you a lot to have a well stocked home. Not only will it make busy back to school days easier (regardless of where you’re learning), but it also means less trips out.
Aside from your regular purchases make sure you’re stocked up on cold and flu supplies, medicine, and a couple weeks worth of everything. Just in case.
Mourn the loss
It’s sad. Whether your kids are at home or going to school things aren’t the way you pictured back to school for your kids at any point in their lives. You’re allowed to feel sad about that! SO are the kids.
Let yourself have these feelings and find someone to talk to about them. Bottling it up doesn’t help, and it definitely won’t make back to school in 2020 any easier.
Set the tone
Have you ever heard the phrase “Mom sets the tone”? Well the way you act and project is going to have an effect on the kids. If you’re apprehensive, they will be too. Show excitement, though, and it will help them through these difficult situations.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to your kids about your worries and the challenges you’re facing together, just that you have to be careful how you present yourself. I know this one can be hard with the mental load you’re already dealing with.
Just keep swimming
Even if you’re not sure what’s happening it’s really necessary to work on those ‘go with the flow’ skills. I’m a planner by nature, so I know this one is pretty tough for me!
At the end of the day, though, there’s nothing you can do about the uncertainty. No amount of planning, crying, or worrying can change the situation you and the world is in right now. That means you just have to relax and just keep swimming while planning an uncertain back to school this year.