With more kids going back to in-person classes this year, with the COVID-19 Delta variant on the rise, and vaccinations not allowed for those under the age of 12, this year’s back-to-school won’t be as usual.

As a result, many parents are once again worried and frustrated about the upcoming school year.

Preparation, like everything else, will be crucial to ensuring a smooth transition for you and your kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how to start preparing your children for what they can expect this year.

Establish a routine and discipline

Routines give us the structure we need in times of uncertainty. Now, having a settled back-to-school routine will be more important than ever.

It’s critical to consider how parents behave, and how often they don’t. Instead of preparing them, parents usually think about how to act when their children are in danger.

In this chaotic period, the feeling of steadiness will help kids feel supported.

Make sure your children have routines and are aware of the house rules, and that you express this to them properly.

From wake-up habits and breakfast to studying and regular bedtime rituals, let your kids stick with a routine that helps them feel their best.

Getting back to regular habits will help them ease back into school. Don’t forget to build in time for fun and recognize if they need a break to relax, too.

Prepare your children for change

The school they will return to will most likely not be the same as the one they left. Prepare them for the sights and sensations that are going to occur. Make them aware that there will be masks, space between friends, possibly plexiglass dividers, and a different lunchtime and recess than when school was closed.

Make a list of what will be in your child’s backpack

This year’s back-to-school supplies will be different, from hand sanitizer and masks, lunch boxes, and water bottles, to good tools for remote learning if required.

Plan for safer after-school activities

Extracurricular activities are often more interesting for children than school, but they will almost certainly be changed to make them safer. Sports remain on the top of the activities list, as they are beneficial for both physical and mental health. With the given COVID situation, it’s recommended to practice individual sports, or activities in open-air areas while keeping in your child’s mind the necessary safety precautions.

A Quick daily Checklist: 

1- Check your kids for any symptoms every day

2- Make sure that your kids are always wearing masks, and have spare masks.

3- Personal hand sanitizers should always be with your kids.

4- Pack healthy meals and personal water bottles with your kids, because school canteens won’t serve food, and prevent food sharing with other kids (which might lead to a high risk of infection).

5- If your kids tested positive for COVID-19, you need to inform the school to ensure effective contact tracing.

6- If your kids have directly contacted someone who tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the isolation guidelines mandated by the health authorities.

7- Enforce rules that keep germs away from home. For example, shoes and clothes must be left in a designated area for sanitizing and kids must instantly wash their hands and shower when they come home. 

8- Don’t send your kids to school if they are feeling sick or showing any COVID-19 symptoms