by Mike Clark, OTR/L, Children’s Therapy
The start of a new school year is a complex event, even for a typical school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic and other social uncertainty, new challenges have to be considered. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has produced a free “Back to School Guide” as well as “Back to School Tip Sheets” to provide practical suggestions for parents, guardians, caregivers, administrators, teachers, para-professionals, and students to navigate these challenges. For a full list of Back to School resources, please visit the AOTA’s website.
Valley’s Children’s Therapy team wants to share a few key suggestions from the AOTA’s tip sheet, “Tips for Families: Helping Children and Adolescents Transition Back to School” to help you prepare for the challenges of the upcoming school year.
- Talk about COVID-19—provide truthful and accurate info about COVID-19 at an age-appropriate level, including the importance of prevention habits like wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing. Invite questions and recognize opportunities to discuss concerns.
- Practice healthy habits and routines at home and in the community—cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, follow hand hygiene routines, avoid large gatherings and follow social distancing guidelines.
- Prepare for e-learning/distance learning days—establish routines for waking, preparing for school, and schedule time to organize work and play. Develop a plan for supervision on e-learning/distance learning days. Set up a workspace to support your child(ren)’s attention. Provide opportunities for your child(ren) to move their bodies throughout the day.
We understand that changes and uncertainty can be stressful and scary, but with some thoughtful planning, open lines of communication, and supporting the practice of new routines, the family team help prepare your child(ren) for a successful start to a new school year. See the full list and details of back to school tips from AOTA.