This is going to be a challenging school year for most of us. But we, as parents, have a responsibility to help our kids make the best of it. And with these 10 strategies, I believe we can all have a great COVID school year.
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It goes without saying that this school year is going to be a difficult one for the vast majority of us. Whether your kids are schooling online, at home, or in the classroom, it’s most likely going to look different from other years and will present its share of challenges.
Even so — even amid the uncertainties and questions and struggles — we, as parents, have a responsibility to help our kids make it the best year possible. Academically and emotionally.
Is it ideal? Not a bit. Will it be perfect? Gracious, no.
But could it still be good? I believe so.
With these 10 strategies (among others), I believe we can all have a great COVID school year.
10 Strategies for a Great COVID School Year
1. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Above all else (except #2), this is the strategy we must implement for a great COVID school year. I can’t stress it enough. This is going to be a challenging year for our kids, and as with any difficult situation, maintaining a positive attitude is key.
I’d even go so far as to say our attitudes will make or break this school year. They will either strengthen our kids’ resilience, or they will undermine it. They will either help them rise to the challenge, or they will pull them under.
How can you be positive for your kids?
- Speak positively about guidelines and protocols (even if you hate them)
- Affirm their ability to overcome the challenges
- Focus on what you do have and are able to do, rather than on what will be different or missing
- Talk about how much stronger you’ll all be by the end of the year
2. Lean on God
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “give all [our] worries and cares to God, for He cares for [us].” Did you see that? All our cares. All of them. Even our COVID school year.
Whenever you or your kids feel the anxiety rising, you can hand it over to the Lord and rest in Him. Trust Him for your peace, wisdom, and security. None of this was a surprise to Him, and none of it is too big for Him to handle.
3. Cover Your Family in Prayer
That being said, it is vital that we tap into the power God gives us through prayer. Prayer is always important, but it is going to be essential for this COVID school year.
Every single day, cover yourself, your kids, and your home in prayer. Pray for protection, pray for peace, and pray for your overall well-being. Prayer is our biggest and greatest weapon — let’s wield it.
4. Be Flexible
This school year is going to be ripe with uncertainty and flux as we adapt to ever-changing conditions. Expect it and even embrace it. Make plans to the best of your ability, but hold them with open hands.
Go into this year with a willingness to be flexible and take it as it comes. (I’m speaking as someone who loathes uncertainty and thrives on plans, so trust me when I say I know that’s easier said than done!)
5. Keep the Most Important the Most Important
In so doing, remember that this is an abnormal, and even somewhat of a crisis, year. So, don’t stress about what does or does not get done. Our kids will feel and internalize our stress, which will further hinder their ability to learn.
Think about what’s most important for your kids to learn and develop this year, and keep your eyes on the real prize. As valuable as reading, writing, and arithmetic are, they’re not nearly as precious as resiliency, integrity, and faith.
6. Do What You Can at Home
That being said, it’s going to be more important than ever that we do what we can to support our kids’ education at home.
Don’t get crazy about it, heaving even more weight on their already-hefty load, but do get involved. Discuss what they’re learning, supplement where you can, and read, read, read!
7. Equip Your Kids
This will be a tough year for our kids, but it is one they can conquer if we equip them for the fight.
Teach them coping skills, write down Scriptures for them, share experiences from your own life — however and whenever you can do it, be intentional about equipping them for adversity, uncertainty, and upheaval this year.
8. Be Your Kids’ Safe Place
After a challenging day/week of school — whether that’s the challenges of meeting in-person, navigating online programs, or adjusting to new homeschool routines — your kids will need a safe place to decompress and process. And you are that place.
Be available when they need you, keep open lines of communication, and speak as much life into them as possible.
9. Pursue Community
We have a tendency in our modern society to try to do life on our own. This is detrimental even in the best of times, but it’s disastrous in times of crisis.
Now is not the time to isolate (even while physically distancing). We need each other more than ever, so pursue community.
But be wise with your company.
Surround yourself with positive people. They don’t need to all agree with you or share all your views (in fact, I think it’s better if they don’t!), but they should support your decisions, lift you up when you’re flagging, and encourage you to remain hopeful.
And if you’re a believer, make sure you’re surrounding yourself with faith-filled, Kingdom-minded people, putting yourself in a position to be encircled with words of life.
10. Remind Yourself It’s Temporary
When you feel anxious and discouraged, remind yourself (daily, if necessary) that it won’t be like this forever. Do your best this year, remembering it’s a single, isolated year. It’s temporary. It won’t always be this hard or this chaotic or this uncertain.
Even IF (and my God, I’m praying against this), it continues longer than we think or hope, you will be stronger, wiser, and more capable of handling it.
A Final Word
Finally, in all and over all the strategies listed above — extend grace. So so so much grace. For yourself, for your kids, for other parents, for teachers, for administrators and decision-makers, for everyone.
Carry grace as an umbrella over everything you do this year. And when you see someone caught in the downpour of COVID fallout (fear, anxiety, stress, anger, uncertainty, unpopular decisions, etc.), be a loving neighbor and cover them with it.
Those are the strategies I, personally, am going to adopt during this COVID year, and I hope they help you, as well.
What else are you doing to help yourself and your kids? Whether it’s practical steps or Scriptures you’re standing on, share all the things in the comments below! Let’s help each other have the best year possible!
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