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Preparing children for the upcoming school year amid COVID-19

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:52 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With school supply shopping season in full swing, preparing children emotionally for the upcoming school year is at the top of the list.

Getting new backpacks and notebooks are part of back to school prep. But with the new year less than two months away, parents should also focus on making sure independence and a healthy mindset are a priority.

In Rockford's Public Schools, students are encouraged to explore and interact with their peers as safely as possible.

"We're going to try to socially distance as much as possible but yet, when you take into account the social and emotional needs of young children, they are going to naturally want to play cooperate together," said Kim Nelson, RPS 205 Executive Director of Early Childhood.

A great way to ease your children into school mode is to introduce a schedule that mirrors a typical school day.

By fostering structure in everyday activities, experts say kids can feel more confident in offering their own suggestions for their daily routine.

"The more children get exposed to it from familiar people, especially parents, the more they can actually think about it and start coming up with their own ideas and their own creativity kicks in," said Dr. Oday Alsarraf, SwedishAmerican psychiatrist.

But, most of all, educators say encouraging patience can make a world of difference.

“We can remind children and reassure them that teachers and principals and school personnel are all doing their part and putting in their effort to do all what they can,” said Dr. Alsarraf.

"This is a very fluid situation. As more information and guidance comes in, we will continue to look at that and update as needed," said Nelson.

Some other tips to get your kids ready for the year include holding socially distant playdates with classmates to reconnect before classes start and keeping a firm bedtime.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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