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A Tough Assignment: Back-to-School Prep Amidst COVID-19

Brainly | August 6, 2021

National Back to School Prep Day happens on August 15 each year and captures the exciting new beginning that is the start of a new school year. Do you have all the supplies that you need? Is the homework or home learning station set up? Now’s the time to be thinking about this stuff.

For many of us, this coming school year will start on a different foot, with the pandemic meaning that there’ll be lots of virtual classes and hybrid learning.

Whatever your circumstances it’s important to prepare adequately and be organized so that everyone is set up for a successful school year, and that’s why National Back To School Prep Day is here. The education experts at Brainly, the world’s largest online learning and homework help community, have a few sage tips to help you further prepare. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!

1. Talk to your child about how this school year will be different.

Most kids already know their lives have changed and the start of this school year will be drastically different, so be upfront about the situation and empower your child to make smart choices and do their part to help stop the spread. Things like handwashing, social distancing etiquette, and mask-wearing should be discussed. Having an open conversation and presenting all the facts will make both you and your child feel less anxious.

2. Create a learning command center.

Before the first day of school, spend some time creating a space in your home for your child to study or do homework. If you don’t have a spare area, or if you have multiple children who want to work together, create a way to store school supplies in a cart or container that’s portable and can be used at the kitchen table or anywhere. This back-to-school space or station will store everything from school laptops to pencils and crayons, plus it can also house your child’s calendar of activities and assignments, backpack, permission slips or papers your child brings home for you, and more.

3. Build excitement and inspire positivity.

While getting mentally prepared for this back-to-school season may be a particularly tough assignment for many people, it still deserves to be celebrated. Consider having a back-to-school themed TV marathon, creating an end-of-summer countdown with construction paper loops, or planning out a special breakfast for the first day. All of these small things can make a big difference in inspiring positivity and excitement for kids. And don’t forget to take those traditional adorable first day of school photos– even if it’s only virtual classes they’re returning to for now!

4. Make face masks fun (and familiar).

For those returning to in-person classes, have a mask for every day for your child, and make sure they like the mask and feel comfortable wearing it for extended periods of time. Cloth face masks come in countless patterns and colors, and kids can use them to express their personal style while staying safe. Pro tip: it’s also smart to make sure kids have an extra mask in a plastic baggie every day just in case something happens to the first one.

5. Develop a sleep routine now.

Getting up early for school can be jarring for middle and high school students who have been used to sleeping in all summer. Start adjusting their snooze schedules little by little about a week or two before school starts.

6. Meal prep healthy lunches and snacks.

Getting organized ahead of schedule makes all the difference in the world. There are tons of online resources for quick, easy, healthy snacks and lunch ideas for kids of all ages (and adults!) such as MealBoard, LaLa Lunchbox, or Cozi. Make things easier on yourself by prepping for the coming week on Sundays and having everything conveniently stored and ready-to-go in the fridge to help streamline school days.

7. Tech tools to enhance learning.

Students who are starting out the first part of their fall semester online may find themself needing some extra help on assignments, and luckily there are plenty of safe online resources they can utilize. Brainly is a social online learning and homework help community that brings all the benefits of in-person study groups into a digital format. is perfect for students needing to look up definitions for vocabulary words, synonyms or antonyms, as well as wanting to expand their personal word bank with a word of the day. myHomework Student Planner is a digital resource where students can input due dates of assignments, homework deadlines, and reminders for almost anything under the sun to help them stay on top of their work and feel confident in class.

8. Bake in time for social interactions.

Some students who are starting virtual classes may be feeling a little down about not getting to see their friends, but there are plenty of ways for them to still socialize with their friends. Setting up Zoom calls with friends is another great idea to ensure your kids aren’t missing out on time with friends and distant family. Encourage your kid to incorporate games into their Zoom calls. For example, he or she can use this no-frills Charades Generator to pick a word to act out in front of the camera, then see who in their audience can guess!

9. Hand sanitizer on hand.

For parents of kids returning to physical schools: Make sure they have hand sanitizer readily available anytime they may need it. A mini hand sanitizer bottle on a keychain works great for backpacks, and you can also use velcro to attach a small bottle of hand-sanitizer to the inside of lunch boxes. Sure, there will likely be plenty of hand sanitizer at schools, but why not make sure they always have it right when they might need it.

That first day back at school is always a special feeling. The summer holidays feel like a lifetime when you’re young and going back to school can feel like it has come a bit out of the blue. Now is a great chance to prepare your kids for what lays ahead and get them excited. It’s even more important this year as you may need to let them know about any new things that they should expect as a result of the COVID pandemic.

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