Avera Medical Minute: Back to school advice from a Family Life Educator

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 11:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

Twila Perkinson is an Avera Child Life Specialist and Family Life Educator. She offers insight on the transition back to school, processing the concerns and questions during the pandemic, and simple ideas to make the adjustment to having a schedule again.

Q: Let's talk about the kids going to kindergarten or first grade for the first time, what can we do to prepare the kids?

Perkinson: Have a virtual tour of the school. Check out the school’s website. Maybe if you know the teacher’s name, if there’s a blog or something that maybe she has he or she has available, that would be one step into helping with those kindergarteners and those first big steps. Another thing I’d like to offer would be having those kids do a little bit of the shopping with you. If they need to make a decision, maybe it’s a decision about what kind of lunch bag that they would like.

Q: Do you have any thoughts or ideas on what we can do to prepare the kids for suddenly having a routine when it's been pretty lackadaisical over the summer.

Perkinson: If you’re used to being up late, you’re going to need to start a little earlier. And then another thing I think you could do as a family would be kind of a dry run practice it on a Saturday morning, and instead of going out to school, you could go out for a breakfast bagel.

Q: Is there something that we can do to help the kids when they're at home after school just to create a good environment for them to do their homework or their studying so that they won't be interrupted or distracted by other things going on at home?

Perkinson: One of the easiest ways would be just to look around and to see: where is homework actually happening. And I would say locate that education spot in your home, but somewhere what’s actually happening.

Q: There probably are some families that wonder how good of a job they did the last year educating their kids at home and wondering how this child is going to transition back into a classroom with a teacher again.

Perkinson: I would say to remember it’s a transition for all of us, and learn self-forgiveness. Be gentle on yourself, be a reassurance to your kids, and answer the questions that they have. If for some reason you don’t know the answer. Let them know that you will seek out that information, and find some of the answers.

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