Parents, students, and teachers are in for a very different school year than ever before. One thing everyone must acknowledge: We are all in this together! Teachers are doing the best to prepare their students to have a successful year, but here are five things parents can practice at home to help teachers for back to school.

1. Have your child wear a mask for extended periods of time.

Regardless of your personal feelings regarding masks, masks will be required in most classrooms . Find one that is comfortable, allows for good breathability, and has good protective factors. (Here are some of our favorite masks for kids.) Your child will most likely have to wear it all day, with small breaks for snacks and lunch. So have them start wearing it for an hour, then two hours, then three hours just to get them to use to it. Not only will this help your child, but teachers will be ever appreciative of your efforts.

Psst…if your kid is having a hard time understanding mask wearing, a video might help! Here are some of our favorite videos about mask wearing to help kids understand the requirement.

2. Teach your child to dress herself.

Most teachers are going to be hands-off as much as possible. It will be vital for students to be able to take on and off their jackets and tie their shoes. Teach your child how to zip a zipper or tie the infamous double knot. It will help everyone, in the long run, to stay socially distant and safe.

3. Practice flexibility and positivity.

This year is unchartered waters for all of us. Please, please, please be flexible with your expectations on what this year “should look like.” Teach your child to do the same. I guarantee it isn’t going to be school as usual. Things are bound to change at a moment’s notice. Through all the twists and turns of this school year, keep a positive attitude as your child will pick up on your feelings. If you roll with the punches with a positive attitude, they will too.

4. Keep an open line of communication with your child.

Ask your child about their day. Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be vulnerable with them and they will reciprocate. By prioritizing relationships, both you and your child will be happier. Also know that you can communicate with your teacher in order to best support your child.  

5. Develop a routine now.

Children have been out of in-class instruction since March. Develop a routine for your child that incorporates an appropriate bedtime. Have your child get up in the morning in order to eat breakfast, get ready, and brush their teeth. Although this may prove to be a struggle, at least there is room for struggle now as opposed to when school starts in the upcoming weeks.

*Bonus: Extend extra grace towards your child’s teacher and your child.

Please know, we for you … not against you. Our desire is that your child learns, whether in-person or online. We are working hard—harder than we ever have before—in order to ensure equity amongst our students. Be extra kind and understanding. Be quick to offer an encouraging note or email. They go a long way!

Remember, we are in this together! By taking some time now to prepare for this school year, this year will be successful for everyone.

What are other ways parents can help teachers this school year? Share in the comments below.

Also, 12 questions parents should ask their children about technology.

5 Things Parents Can Practice With Their Kids at Home to Help Teachers This Year