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Ready and Resilient

The start of a new school year often brings a bit of stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has the school community experiencing a lot of stress. Much of that stress is from not knowing what the disease will look like in a few weeks from now. For parents, helping your kids be ready and resilient may be the key.

ready resilientReady means following instructions sent to you from your child’s school and planning for students to return to school buildings while alternately planning how your children will be home with online lessons, or a combination of both.

Between now and the first day of school, you also can get ready by having school-age children try following written instructions such as a recipe, a sewing pattern for a mask or instructions for putting together a piece of furniture or equipment. Have children troubleshoot a problem with you, make their own lunch, and figure out your daily work and home task schedule together.

Ask your children what they want to learn more about and find ways together to make that happen. Most importantly, carve out time to listen to your children’s feelings regarding attending school in person, online or a combination of each. Note that their ideas will change as schools roll out their plans and friends talk to each other.

Young children need important jobs to get ready, too. Have them choose their clothes at night before bedtime. Practice tying shoes, zipping, buttoning and snapping. When it rains, bring out the scissors, paper punch, yarn, tape, glue, glitter and markers. Make cards, drawings and artful creations for upcoming celebrations.

Send a drawing or two to grandparents. Have your children write their own name and address on the back to practice writing letters and numbers. Listen to their thoughts and feelings without judging, too. Help them realize that classes may or may not be at the school building.

Resilience means the ability to bounce back after a difficulty. Handling difficulties is much easier when you have had enough sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise. Adults can teach resilience by practicing positive self-talk when things go wrong, seeing difficult situations as opportunities to learn and grow, and taking the appropriate amount of responsibility for situations. Equipping children with these skills will help them bounce back from adversity, too.

Being ready and resilient are good skills for school and for life.

For more information about Talking to Children About Pandemics


Kim Bushaw
NDSU Extension Family Science Specialist

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