We all know that school is starting off a little different this school year, distance learning, in person learning a few days a week, virtual classes, zoom sessions, however your student is going back to school, you still want to make that day or first week special.
As corona-virus cases continue to rise, most of us have no idea when school will return to normal. Here are just a few ideas on how you can save those special back to school moments.
Prepare a comfortable workspace. If you haven't done so already, prepare an area in your home where your child can log on and have place for virtual classes each day. It can be a corner in their room or another room, I've even seen some really cool closets that were converted into a workspace, when the weather is nice they can even take their laptop and take their virtual learning to the porch or backyard. Make sure they have all the supplies needed for a successful school year, I know that most schools are posting supply lists online.
A surprise room makeover or refresh. Each year I give my daughter (my son when he was still school-aged) a room refresh, it could be just replacing a comforter, add a new picture to the wall or maybe a new plant. If your child will be doing most of their virtual learning from their bedroom, this will also give you the opportunity to spruce up the areas that will appear when s/he is on video calls.
Make a special breakfast. Get up a little early and make their favorite breakfast. each school year I would make the kids pancakes in the shape of the grade they are entering that school year, along with some of their other favorites (i.e. sausage, eggs, fruit), just a special touch and a great memory.
Take "first day of school" pictures. Although classes are online, you still want to remember that first day. You can even make a cool sign, I make one each year on the first day and last day of school, I am pretty sure at some point my daughter will get tired of it though...my son sure did hate it once he hit middle school. You can make a sign that contains the grade your child is entering, their name, school year, teacher's name and even their favorite color or snack. If you have a senior, you could even hire a professional photographer to capture all those special moments.
Go back to school shopping. Yes, go back to school shopping for pajamas and lounge wear since that's what most of the kids will be wearing. You don't have to go overboard, but allow them to pick a few pieces that they like, they may even want a nice trendy outfit for that "first day of school" photo. Having something new on the first day can be a huge motivator and get your child excited for Back to School.
Pack lunches. Since our children have been home, I am sure it has just been a "free for all", kids are waking up in the middle of the day, eating a bowl of cereal at 2pm, having a snack at 3, 4, and 5 pm, and probably eating dinner a little later than normal or not eating dinner at all because they decided to go back to bed at 6pm only to wake up at 3am looking for a meal LOL. Yes, I am sure your kid may not be that excited to sit at the kitchen island or dining table and have lunch with their parents or siblings instead of sitting with all their friends in the cafeteria. But there are some pros, they'll have access to a microwave if they want to reheat something, they'll have access to the fridge if they want their yogurt or juice to be cold and they won't be rushed to eat all their food in 4.5 minutes. Us parents are still working remotely as well, so keep healthy snacks and easy meals accessible for your children that can grab their lunch on their own just in case you're tied up in a zoom meeting. Oh yeah, Don't forget to include a special note in their lunch bag or box.
Plan some after school activities. Most parents depend on different after school programs or child care and with most being closed or limiting the amount of children they can accommodate us parents may need to get a little more creative. Plan your own family field trips, take a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, have family game nights or even show and tell during dinner time.
These are just a few ideas for back to school amid this pandemic. When so much of our day to day routine has been lost, even silver linings can feel gray. We feel like all these activities that kept our calendars filled (dance class, sports, book clubs) would be a relief during these times, but these are also the things that helped out children build friendships and explore themselves. How much of this will you miss? Hopefully we get back to the norm sooner rather than later.
What are some back to school traditions you and your family do each year? Leave a comment below.