Champaign-Urbana families can take steps to prepare for the school routine, regardless of what form school takes
Whatever fashion we start the school year in, independence and life skills are of great importance to your soon-to-be-school-aged child. And since the usual “school routine” has been, er, not quite typical since March 2020, this year is even more important to take steps to establish solid habits.
These tips have been crafted with all ages in mind, though some will be more relevant to younger elementary kids and others will apply to tweens and teens, too. We aren’t sure what to expect from the coming school year but we do know we can plan for a safe and healthy return to routine the best we can.
Thank you to Christie Clinic for presenting our 2020 Champaign-Urbana Area Back to School series.
Christie Clinic is encouraging parents to schedule a school physical soon.
Starting school physical appointments now will allow Christie Clinic Department of Pediatrics and Department of Family Medicine to best serve all patients while maintaining a safe visit environment. Enhanced precautions are in place to keep patients and team members safe including additional hours, visitor restrictions and social distancing to reduce the number of people in our facilities.
Parents can currently make back-to-school appointments for their children through their MyChristie patient portal or online at christieclinic.com.
Alleviate lunchtime-stress by packing a lunch for your child this summer. Have them work on opening their lunch packages and drinks (where does the straw go in that Capri Sun?!) Many early elementary students struggle with this skill. Helping children practice boosts their confidence and allows them to spend more time actually eating when lunchtime arrives.
Carry a backpack here to there and everywhere
Have your child work on carrying a backpack with a few fun toys inside this summer. Arrival and departure times at school can be somewhat chaotic for students and teachers. This skill is good for children to work on so they can practice zipping up, putting on, and taking off their own backpacks independently. And pick the spot in your house where the school stuff needs to live, so that they know where to hang their backpack up at the end of each day — so it doesn’t end up on the floor.
Start a calendar together
Children thrive on routine and predictability. Create a calendar with your child and let them know about important family events coming up or countdown to their birthday or a special activity. This helps them learn the concept of time and how to process this important passage of time.
Review proper hand washing
We would recommend reviewing this skill with your kids for any school year, but DEFINITELY this year. The whole family can work on practicing this together. Teach your children to grab the soap, sing a song that lasts 20 seconds (ABCs anyone?), rinse and dry. You can take some time to try out automatic hand sanitizers too, so kids know the proper way to “catch” sanitizer and rub it all over. Two key skills for 2020!
For your youngest students, go over bathroom etiquette
Beyond the basics of pulling clothes down and pulling them back up, there are a few other reminders to revisit before going to school. Talk about remaining in the stall until all their clothing is readjusted, not peeking under stalls at other kids and preserving privacy. You can emphasize the importance of privacy by encouraging your kids to close the bathroom door at home, even if that’s something they don’t normally do. It’ll translate well to all other areas of life.
Make learning fun the final weeks of summer and refresh their memory as to what they’ve learned
It doesn’t matter what age your kids are and whether you have completely forgotten about that math packet that was in the end-of-year garbage bag back in May. Incorporate learning into activities that are fun and motivating for your child the next few weeks. Practice letters with sidewalk chalk, find reasons to write things with a pencil and paper (letters to Grandma, perhaps) or make some homemade ice cream and talk about that (delicious) science experiment that is happening. You know your kids and what will bend their minds back into learning activities as the school year approaches.
Read a book — any age, any stage
Did you know the libraries are open again!? Take your kids to pick out books they are interested in reading because no matter what their age, it always helps to have something fun to read. You can check out some, too, and lead by example. Cracking a book open is a great way to get moving back toward the school groove of reading assignments and as long as it’s summer break, your kids get to have all the say in what they’re reading. The library is also a great place to …
Practice wearing a mask
Folks, this one is just an essential factor for the 2020-21 school year. Ensure that your child’s mask fits properly. Pick some short, simple outings where your child can practice wearing a mask and feel what it’s like to “go out” these days because that will help the back-to-school transition immensely.
Enjoy every last minute of summer
For real. Make memories to last a lifetime and embrace the next several weeks as the school year rapidly approaches.
Read our whole back to school series:
Part 1 — Back to School: School Physicals Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 2 — Back to School: Immunizations Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 3 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Registration Information
Part 4 — Back to School: Champaign-Urbana Area School Start Dates
Part 5 — Back to School: Dental, Vision Exams Required for Illinois Schoolchildren
Part 6 — Back to School: Top Nine Tips to Prepare for a Return to School Routine
Post 7 — Back to School: Eight Things You Didn’t Know You Needed