The first day of school for the 2020 fall semester is going to look very different for a lot of families.
Following on the heels of a shortened school year and an uncertain summer, there are still a lot of unknowns. The one thing we do know is that education must continue, whether it is in a classroom, online, fully at home, or a mix of several options.
Whatever it looks like for your family, it is still a special day and should be treated as one. Here are some first day of school tips from Receptra parents who are going through some of the same thing you are.
Keep Traditions Alive
If you have something that you have always done for your kids on the first day of school, it is a great idea to try and stick as close to that routine as possible. Traditions are may provide a sense of normalcy even in this abnormal environment.
“We’re still waiting to hear from the school whether we’ll be online, in-school or in a hybrid model. Regardless, we think it’s important to maintain our schedule and traditions. We always go to get special drinks before school on the first day (coffee/smoothies) and we’ll definitely be doing that regardless of the school situation. I think the important thing is to make it feel special for your kid(s), no matter what they are doing for school.” - Shane V., Receptra CMO (father of a 7th grader)
Going back to school is a yearly milestone from roughly ages 5 to 17. Just like any other major holiday, there is anticipation and excitement. Help your child make the most of that festive energy with a special celebration.
“Times are definitely different. Our 14-year old daughter is starting virtual high school next week. She misses her friends and teachers so very much. One day 1 of school, we plan to put a big smile on her face with some sidewalk chalk messages on the front steps, special breakfast, do a time capsule together, maybe wear a new special outfit or pajamas. And, a mom and dad favorite . . . the backpack fairy will make an appearance. Have your child leave their empty backpack out in your living room the night before. Then the “backpack fairy” comes while the kids are asleep to fill the backpack with awesome new school supplies!” - Maureen S., Receptra Customer Service Specialist (mother of a 9th grader)
Back-to-School Rituals Aren’t Just for Your Kids
Going back-to-school is a big change for everyone in the house. Sometimes part of the fun for your kids is just anticipating the silly things you do. It doesn’t have to be much. Parenting is hard. Be yourself and crank it up to 11!
“Although my oldest son is ‘heading off’ to college this year, his first month is planned to be remote and the move-in day is now mid-September instead of August. My other son starts high school this year and they are going in on time. Our ritual will not change too much. Mom gets up early to start their favorite breakfast or pancakes and bacon and then dad cranks as loud as possible ‘This is the End’ (of Summer) by the Doors. It’s depressing but fitting!” - Tom G., Receptra President and CEO (father of a 9th grader and a college freshman)
Don’t Overthink It
As kids get older they start to form their own traditions and may not be as excited as they were when they were little. That doesn’t mean you should ignore first day back to school, but make sure you are not overthinking it. Sometimes all they want are some chocolate chip pancakes and a reminder to brush their teeth.
“My four teenage boys, three high school juniors and one sophomore, will enjoy the first day of the 2020 school year with a two-mile run. My oldest teenager works at a gym in the early morning, so he will miss out on the run. College is online for my oldest son, so no one is leaving the house for school on the first day. We will make the best of it and enjoy chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and lunch on the patio.” - Mary D., Receptra Director of Therapeutic Sales (mother of one 10th grader, three 11th graders, and one college freshman...all boys)
Be Confident in the Unknown
This could be a good opportunity to take advantage of a unique life lesson. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and we have to make adjustments on the fly. The first day of school may not be something you can really plan in 2020, and maybe that is ok. Kids mirror what they are shown and if you, as the adult walk into the new school year with confidence, they may follow suit.
“This year, everything is different. We don’t know what heck the first day of school will be like. Will it home-schooling or hybrid learning for my 9-year-old? Our plan is to go with the flow and be grateful for what we have, while using the resources that are still available. I expect life’s less-traveled roads will bring forth new adventures and new successes, that would have otherwise been missed by past traditions.” - Lisa S., Receptra Staff Accountant (mother of a 4th grader)