We can’t pretend that this year’s back to school experience is going to be business as usual. For families across the country and even the world, this will be a school year unlike any other, even for communities where in-person classes are resuming. But, as with most challenges in life, with a little shift in perspective and some creativity, you can make this change more manageable, and still find joy in the process!
First, let’s call it “back to learning.” At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, right? Our kids are kicking off another year of learning, whatever that looks like in your community. Then, for back to learning ideas that are age specific, visit this recent blog post of ours for tips and tricks that are tailored to different age groups. But if it’s feeling a lot less like actual school for your kids, we have some ideas to help it feel more official, and fun!
- Keep up annual school year traditions, such as taking a photo on the first day of classes, complete with a first day of school outfit, or having your kids’ favorite meals during the first week of classes. Whatever your usual tradition is, do it again this year, even if you have to make some adjustments. The activities will be something for everyone to look forward to, and they’ll help your kiddos to get back into the right frame of mind for learning.
- Enforce a structure and a routine for your family’s weekdays. Have breakfast, recess, lunch, etc, on the same schedule every week. This will help establish a sense of normalcy and security for your kids, even if things externally are seeming uncertain and far from typical.
- Add in fun and creative ways to learn, where you can get involved with your children and they can do some hands-on learning rather than being glued to a screen. Regardless of how often you do this, it’ll be a great way to throw some excitement into the routine. Our best idea for this is of course food related! Have your kids learn with you in the kitchen, for a kind of home ec. “class”. If they’re younger you could have them work on their math and measurements, or just choose a meal that’s kid-friendly in terms of having easy steps for them to help with, like our Mini Turkey Meatloaves on our August menu, or the Family Pizza Night in September. You can teach kids of any age about another culture and place by making a dish that’s from somewhere else in the world, such as our Thai Coconut Shrimp Over Jasmine Rice. Add in playing the music from the region of the dish, or watching a movie after dinner that takes place there. If you want to go the extra mile, for dessert you could even do a subscription box like Universal Yums, which sends you candies and treats from a different place in the world every month!
In closing, as the caregivers, you set the tone for how your kids respond and deal with the current situation, regardless of what it looks like. If you show your kids that it can be an opportunity for creativity, and that there are still plenty of things to look forward to and be joyful about this year of learning, they’ll be more likely to jump on board and share your positive attitude. Whatever methods you choose, we at Dream Dinners wish you and your family the best of luck in the back to learning transition!