5 tips to prepare kids for back-to-school in 2021

(BPT) - Back-to-school is here, and once again, it looks a little different this year. With an increasing level of uncertainty, and the possibility of various learning formats - in-person, virtual and hybrid - parents, caregivers and teachers need to be prepared and stay flexible for the year ahead.

Most importantly, it's important to be aware of each individual child's academic, social and emotional needs as they head back to school. Here are some tips for parents, caregivers and teachers navigating the year ahead.

1. Be patient

Over the past year and a half, many kids endured learning disruptions, and parents and teachers should acknowledge this. Instead of expecting kids to pick up exactly where they left off, be patient and know that some kids will need a bit of extra time to catch up. Remind yourself that there hasn't been a complete absence of learning - it has just looked different over the past several months.

2. Design and print your own classroom materials

Whether you're a teacher or a parent, a little extra in-school or at-home classroom help goes a long way. For teachers, FedEx Office and Canva have teamed up to make designing and printing classroom materials so much easier. From worksheets, lesson plans and presentations, to classroom signage, décor and posters, teachers can choose from millions of images and illustrations using an easy drag-and-drop interface, with a seamless option to print materials at more than 2,000 FedEx Office locations. Parents, too, can lean on FedEx Office for all of their needs, from printing school materials, to celebratory signage to mark milestone moments throughout the year.

3. Maintain open parent-teacher communication

Be proactive and consistent with communication between parents and teachers. Remember that everyone is trying to do their best. If parents have questions or concerns, work collaboratively with teachers and remain open-minded as you team up to find a solution.

4. Encourage responsibility and independence

Children often feel more confident when they have tasks that are all their own. For younger children, this could include something as small as putting their own shoes and jacket on, or opening their own food container. For older kids, assigning simple tasks such as watering the classroom plants or feeding the dog at home can also boost feelings of independence.

5. Return to a routine

Predictable structure and regular rituals can help support children's well-being. Schedules often fluctuate over the summer - and were especially disrupted during the pandemic. Parents should make sure they have plenty of time for breakfast, packing lunches, getting ready and making it to school on time. To help with bedtime, try a 'no screen' rule for at least an hour before getting ready for sleep. Finally, regular talks with children about what is working well can go a long way.

Follow these tips as you navigate the upcoming school year, and remember, the resilience children have learned throughout the pandemic will support them as they continue to learn and grow. For more resources on printing resources for back to school, visit fedex.com/en-us/printing.

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