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Parents! It’s that time of year again, but this year is unlike any other. Last year, our kids were thrown for a loop, when schools shut down temporarily and they transitioned to online learning. We saw them try to navigate this new territory, and while they missed their friends and after-school activities, we became IT specialists, helping them log onto their latest Zoom class, and helping with any internet issues. But this year, many schools are going back to in-person learning or hybrid learning. While many of our kids are excited to be back, there may be difficulties ahead. For one, students got comfortable with waking up at 8:59am for their 9am class. They also didn’t have to adhere to the same rules at school, at home. Lastly, many did not have social interaction with their peers beyond a computer screen. So how can we support our children as they head back to school?

Create Meaningful Connection With Your Child

There is power in talking to your kids! Instead of asking, “how was school”, ask them “how did you feel about going back to school, and what was your favorite part”? Expanding on questions not only shows them that you care, but that you are interested in their school life. Make a habit to find time during the day, (whether this is at dinner, or during the ride home), to have these conversations!

Encourage them to Reach Out for Help

Emphasize the importance of asking for help when it is needed! Let your child know the importance of seeking support when they are feeling down or overwhelmed, and give them resources for people they can go to. Let them know their counselor, family members, and trusted peers can be people to lean on when they are overwhelmed.

Positive Reinforcement

Our kids are trying, and they will make mistakes, but don’t forget to give them positive reinforcement when they do something good, even if it’s not exceptional. If they are struggling in one class, but they are improving in another, continue to encourage them to make improvements in the subject areas they are not the strongest in, but mention how proud you are of the progress they’re making. With every criticism, be sure to provide a positive so kids don’t become discouraged.

While our kids are excited for the new school year, I know parents are too! I am looking forward to the success our kids will see this year, and I hope this school year is a memorable one!

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