A lot of families avoid talking about school when there’s still so much of summer left, but this isn’t an ordinary school year. As kids head back into their virtual and physical classrooms, they may be facing another year of adjustment. For some, this might be the first time back in person in over a year or you might have enrolled your child back into online classes. It is important to take time over the summer to talk about the changes and expectations going forward.
Has your child had the opportunity to verbally process their experiences from last year with you? What worked or didn’t work? Does he or she have any worries about the coming year? It doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down conversation that takes away from the fun of summer. It can be a casual check-in while enjoying an activity for the first time in months. Reminiscing about the last two years provides a natural opportunity to explore deeper thoughts and feelings. The important thing is not to assume how your child is coping but to take the time to listen and support them with addressing any concerns ahead of September.
If they share a concern, it can be helpful to ask them for solutions before offering your own. This helps build confidence and resilience and reinforces their ability to handle difficult challenges. If they need more direction, the fact that you’ve tuned into their needs will be a comfort to them. You may not have all the answers but validating their concerns can go a long way.
We all want to move on from the pandemic but we’re not completely in a new normal just yet. Don’t put off talking about school. Dealing with worries now may actually make yours and your child’s summer more enjoyable and set them up for a more successful school year.