4 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for School
It may only be August, but back-to-school season is just around the corner. Here are four ways to get a jump start on preparing your children to go back to school in the fall.
1. Practice Wearing a Mask
For those of you whose child is physically returning to school, chances are masks will either be required or strongly encouraged. If your child isn’t physically returning to school this fall, this is still worth considering as masks are increasingly becoming the norm, and likely will be for the foreseeable future.
Even children who are eager to follow the rules may have difficulty keeping their masks on (particularly younger students), and we don’t blame them. Masks can be a little hot and itchy and definitely something to get used to. But for everyone’s health and safety (including that of your child), it is important to get him or her comfortable with wearing a mask for extended periods of time.
For younger students, one way to encourage this would be to start having a 30-minute masked playtime every day. You could even turn it into a game and award a treat or small surprise when the child successfully goes the full 30 minutes without removing the mask. Allowing your child to select a mask may be another way to make mask-wearing fun rather than restrictive. Just make sure that the mask is in accordance with your school’s dress code. Better yet, turn this less-than-ideal situation into a fun arts and crafts project by making beaded lanyards to attach to the masks to keep them from falling down. Inviting children to add their own personal style and taste to the mask may give them a sense of ownership and pride, further incentivizing them to wear them.
2. Talk to Your Doctor about Starting a Vitamin D Regimen
In a 2011 study, nearly 42 percent of the U.S. population was found to be deficient in vitamin D. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), vitamin D is not only essential for bone health, but also allows other essential minerals to be properly absorbed by the body, and can also boost the immune system to prevent illness. Additionally, Northwestern University recently published a study which showed that vitamin D levels may play a significant role in COVID mortality rates, suggesting that proper vitamin D levels may aid in recovery if the virus is contracted. Based on these findings, ask your doctor if you should consider increasing your family’s vitamin D intake prior to your child returning to school.
3. Get Your Child on a Regular Sleep Schedule
Not only is adequate sleep important for your child’s ability to think clearly and maintain energy levels during the day, it’s also vital to his or her immune system. According to the CDC, sleep loss can weaken the immune system by disrupting the function of cells that fight off illness, increasing the body’s inflammatory response and reducing the body’s production of antibodies. In other words, a lack of sleep may directly impact a child’s ability to prevent and fight infection in the body, leading to an increased risk of sickness and slower recovery from sickness.
It can take some time for the body to fully adjust to a new schedule, so give your children a head-start by getting them in the groove one or two weeks before the first day of school by setting earlier bedtimes.
4. Do Some Extra Back-To-School Shopping
At Trinity, as at many schools, students will be required to use only their own school supplies to reduce the risk of spreading germs. Even in schools where this might not be the official recommendation, having your child use only his or her own personal set of school supplies may help prevent him or her from picking up bacteria living on the surfaces of shared office equipment. Explain to your child that while it’s normally kind to share, in this situation, the kindest thing is to keep one’s hands and things to one’s self so as not to risk sharing sickness.
Along with the usual school supplies and items listed on your school’s website, consider picking up a water bottle so your child won’t have to use water fountains. Because they can be a hotspot for bacteria, all water fountains at Trinity and some other schools will be closed. You’ll want to ensure that your child has a good, heavy-duty backpack for the fall as some schools, like Trinity, will be limiting or eliminating the use of lockers to minimize time that students spend in close proximity to one another. Picking up a small bottle of hand sanitizer that your child can bring to school isn’t a bad idea either, and make sure you’ve got a working thermometer on hand to monitor your child’s temperature every day before school.
If you have a student attending TCS this fall, be sure to check out our Reopening Plan and don’t forget to have him or her complete any Summer Assignments.
About the Author
Jo Wilbur is a Communications Specialist at TCS and proud JMU grad who loves writing, shopping, and making new friends. She and her husband live in Purcellville and spend time together cooking plant-based meals, singing worship songs, and volunteering as Young Life leaders in their community.