Parenting preseason: Back to school advice for elementary school parents

COVID-19: Back To School
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Starting a new school year can bring lots of excitement as well as a bit of anxiety for kiddos and their parents. Help calm your family’s fears with these teacher-approved tips:

Sarah Mancusi/Second Grade Teacher, Nixa Public Schools: “Going into school we know that we’re going to be wearing masks, that’s the safest for our kids right now,” Nixa Public Schools teacher Sarah Mancusi said.

Mancusi teaches second grade and says she too is preparing her 8-year-old for the changes.

“One of the things I asked her to do the other day was to sit down and read a book with a mask on.” 

Mancusi says this is a good way to get your child used to wearing a mask for longer periods of time. She says she found an accessory that can make the process a bit easier.

“It’s a lanyard that you actually connect to your mask, so when she’s able to be socially-distant in the classroom or recess she’ll be able to take off her mask and it will hang from her lanyard,” Mancusi said. 

Mancusi says routines are especially important for little learners, and that building the routine of wearing a mask early can keep kids excited about learning instead of focusing on the mask. 

Don’t forget to practice handwashing with your child.

“Kids love to run their fingers down the wall..we want to make sure they stop touching their faces all the time, but if they do because I still do by accident, then go wash your hands for twenty seconds,” Mancusi said. 

 Mancusi said for students learning virtually, it’s important to ensure you’re letting the student do the learning.

“Sit back, help them learn the platform but then let them do the learning, let them feel that excitement when they figure out ‘oh my goodness this is how I re-group with addition’ or ‘this is how I make sense of this vocabulary word,’” Mancusi said. 

One thing Mancusi does with her own daughter is an incentive sticker chart. She says it can be as simple as letting the child get some extra outside time or iPad time when they reach their goal. You’ll be surprised at how motivated the child will be to complete his or her virtual learning tasks.

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