Normally this time of year, in fact as recently as in our last blog, we address “return to school” issues. Things like snacks and lunches you can send to school that are good for teeth make great blog material. That said – this year involves a return to school unlike any other. Obviously teeth are pretty important to the team here at Brinkley Dental in Brampton but today we thought we’d use this space to talk about another aspect of the return to school – that is, the return to routine.
The experts tell us that kids thrive on routine. Routine and structure are important at any age, after all that’s one of the reasons Dentists recommend establishing a routine around oral health care! For today however, here are some tips and tools for establishing a different kind of routine in this new Covid-19 return to school environment.
Returning to School AT SCHOOL:
- Multiple Masks. Despite your best efforts, kids will drop and/or lose their masks. Make sure you have several on hand for each day. They need to be washed frequently too if you are using fabric masks so a good ratio to consider would be 2 for each day of the week. You may also want to buy a box of disposable masks and put a few into a clear, sealed sandwich bag in your child’s backpack. If all else fails, they will still have access to a disposable mask.
- Yes the school will have some and teachers no doubt will be using it liberally throughout the day but send some from home with your child as well. If you haven’t already, consider purchasing a key fob sized sanitizer and refilling it frequently. Hanging from your child’s backpack will mean it’s always close at hand.
- Some parents are using a lanyard (with a “breakaway” feature for safety) to diminish the risk of masks falling on the floor, being traded or otherwise getting dirty. You might want to consider one for your child.
- Leave earlier! A last minute charge out the door won’t work this year as kids will need time to get in to the classroom safely and it will be a longer process as depending on your school, it may involve temperature checks and sanitization at the door.
- Positive attitude! Children will pick up on your fears and concerns. Even though these are scary times and you MUST talk to your child about personal safety, try not to overwhelm their little minds with big concerns that you may be experiencing. Keep the talk age appropriate and don’t let your own worries show in your voice.
Returning to School AT HOME:
- The key to a return to school in the home environment is establishing both structure and yes – routine!
- Create a dedicated workspace for school. Even if it’s the kitchen table, ensure that after breakfast, the table is turned into a school environment and kids recognize the transition. Consider a portable caddy for all your school supplies that becomes your new “centerpiece” each day. Keeping all the tools you will need to be “in school” accessible and close at hand eliminates interruptions while searching for “that special blue pencil!”
- Consider a labeled basket for each child in the house to keep homework, binders and worksheets close at hand and organized too.
- Create a schedule and post it somewhere handy. You can use the fridge if you have to, or use a whiteboard if you have extra room. Be sure to include scheduled breaks for both “recess” and lunchtime so your child knows what to expect and what their day will look like. Manage PA/PD days the same as a school would and keep your schedule similar too so that your child can play outside around the same time as his or her friends are dismissed from school.
- Connect with other online learning groups and/or home-school associations for ideas and inspiration and do some research on online learning support resources now in case you need them later. I don’t know about you but while our expertise is teeth, Grade 12 math might just have us stumped! Look after yourself too parents and make sure learning supports are lined up for when you and your child need them most!
- If online learning is part of your itinerary – remember to charge all your computers, laptops, handheld devices (whatever you are using) each night so they are ready to go in the morning. Always plan to log in a few minutes earlier than you need to, ensuring you have time to correct any problematic connection issues.
- Tweens and teens can probably be trusted to work in their room but they are not immune to stress or to distractions! Make sure you are checking in on them regularly and offering support when it is most needed. Help them to schedule and manage their workload as well. Online makes it easier to procrastinate “I’ll do that tonight,” or “I’ll catch up on the weekend.” Help your young adult to establish some good work habits and routines that will serve them well now and in their future when they have to self-regulate their study in post secondary school!
We could go on and on with suggestions and we are pretty sure our faithful readers have some great ideas too! Consider posting them in our comments section and share your ideas for a successful school year with other Brinkley Dental parents. We’d love to hear from you. Of course we also hope that when you are talking about routine and structure – oral health care, brushing your teeth and scheduling appointments with your Dental team are also part of the conversation! If it’s been awhile and you’ve avoided the Dentist during Covid-19 lockdown we understand but want to reassure you that your safety is always top of mind and we are ready, willing and open to meet with patients. Call today for an appointment and in the meantime, ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”