Photo: Juicy Juice via JuicyJuice.com

Whether you’re prepared, scared, or maybe in denial, there’s no denying that the new school year is here. Although that may look different for families all over the country, with some opting into in-person learning, staying remote, a combination of both, or maybe even still unsure, we’re all in this together. I don’t need to tell you this school year will be unlike any other, you already know that. Instead, I’m using my years of experience as both a mom and a primary educator to provide some simple tips to help balance a new routine and tackle the new year feeling confident and empowered to make this the best year yet for your little learners. If nothing else, just remember you got this.  

1.  Use all the resources available to you. As a kindergarten teacher and mom of two littles, I’m always looking for ways to take some tasks off of my plate. We started to use grocery drop off/pick up services to save a little time. Also, everyone in the family is taking on more of an active role. We’ve also leaned on our family and friends in ways that we have not in the past. This can be difficult for so many parents that feel like we have to do it all….use your village! 

2. Give your children more control during a time when they might feel out of control. I love the word “yes.” When my children ask to do something, wear something, or play something…if it’s in my power to say “yes,” then I do! I want them to feel like they have some control when the world seems to be changing daily. For me, that means letting them select their own clothes or even giving them a little more control in their daily schedule. My children also learned how to pack their own lunches during quarantine so they can keep this up whether they are at home for distance learning or back in the classroom. We decided to put their lunch items, snacks, and juice boxes in places that are accessible for their tiny hands.

3. Support your kids by supporting their teachers. This is near to me since I hold space as a veteran teacher and concerned parent. I understand what it means to deal with distance learning at home or send my child into a school that I’m not allowed to step foot into. It’s tough stuff! On the other hand, I know what it is to be the teacher under pressure—especially during this unprecedented time. When it comes to your children’s’ teachers: assume the best intentions, be understanding. This is new for everyone. Be flexible and remember—the whole world is going through this. We are winning with each passing day!

4. Take care of yourself. Self-care is critical. Self-care is proactive. Self-care is so much deeper than a relaxing bubble bath. For me personally, self-care is even cleaning the bathtub after the relaxing bubble bath because I know that a dirty space might be a trigger for stress later. In a world that is ever connected, it’s also easy to compare yourself to others. Don’t! This is one of the fast ways to trigger stress and anxiety—and for me, that is the opposite of self-care. We are all on our own journey. Remember social media is a highlight reel and if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.