Top 5 Return To Learning Tips
Fall is almost upon us…chunky sweatshirts and boots, falling leaves and school…let’s take a look at how best to prepare mentally and physically for what returning to learning means to you and your family.
First of all, you are NOT alone in your feelings of anxiety or vulnerability and it is exhausting living in the land of uncertainty. There are, however, a few ways that you CAN take charge of your own situation. By doing this, you will find more peace and positivity, which are two of the best characteristics to equip your student with going into this new school year.
Take CHARGE by…
1. Weighing the different modes of delivering instruction that are offered to your family and selecting the one that provides you with the most peace of mind. Once you’ve made your decision, celebrate your decisiveness.
2. Being mindful of the way your adult emotions manifest themselves. It’s completely normal that uncertainty takes its toll and can rear its ugly head in the form of physical, mental, and emotional stress.
The BEST decision doesn’t exist. At least not for Adults. Our darn pre-frontal cortex is firing constantly about those pesky “what if’s.” In fact, there are too many variables to even point out and yet… your child, operating in blissful naivety, couldn’t care less about a single one. He or she will simply act in accordance with their childhood ways by internalizing and reacting to the environment within their home.
Childhood trauma expert, Stephanie Grant, Ph,D has completed extensive research in regards to the effect(s) that a mature adult with the ability to proficiently buffer stressful situations of uncertainty or anxiety has on children closest to them. Her results are clear. The single most important factor in managing and shaping a child’s concept of a situation is profoundly correlated to the proficiency that the adult closest to the child has on positively co-regulating an experience.
Let me be clear, the way YOU as a parent react will have a profound impact on your child’s response.
The way you feel, the things you say, and the way you react to wearing a mask.
The way you feel, the things you say, and the way you act about their return to school schedule.
The way you feel, the things you say, and the way you treat your child’s teacher(s).
The way you feel, the things you say, and they way you respond to YOUR CHILD are all imperative in building the self concept they will draw on as either positive or negative cues about going into the start of the school year.
3. If you have selected return to in-person instruction, realize that educators have your child’s best interests at heart. They love the profession and have waited five months to be teaching students, in person. Also realize that these same educators have very real anxiety and are working very hard to be mindful of their emotions. Be nice, buy them Lysol Wipes, try really hard to not spam their emails the first week; they know that every student’s safety and well being is critical. Instead, do something nice for them in the first 4 weeks that is either free or under $5. Kind gestures of appreciation mean a lot.
4. If you have selected virtual/hybrid/homeschool instruction, remember that you have your child’s best interests at heart. Make peace with the notion that this wasn’t what you thought you would be doing, but play the hand you were dealt like a bonafide card shark! Create a dedicated work space for your child/ren. Hire help in the form of a babysitter, teacher, or tutor to help you negotiate curriculum. This doesn’t make you weak, this makes you empowered! Create a network of people who you feel safe leaning on socially. And do something kind and gentle for yourself, you are appreciated.
5. Lastly, now that you’ve weighed and made your decision, worked toward healthy management of emotions, and prepared for success. Expect the unexpected- as much as we don’t want to talk about it, create a quarantine and/or isolation plan. You’ll thank yourself for having the foresight to prepare and if Murphy’s Law plays out, all of your preparation will pay off with maintaining your health. Since we’re on the subject of health, exercise civic responsibility, beware of your social footprint, and take care of your mental health as much as your physical health.
This blog was written by Jen R,. a local doula and educator.