It’s that time of year! Back to school but (possibly) even bigger, back to the office for many of the people who have been working remotely for the better part of the last eighteen months. There is no doubt that this last year has challenged us all, especially those parents who were suddenly working from home with their children… who simultaneously were suddenly learning from home. While we always joke that back-to-school season is a relief for so many parents, this year will be different and there are some added anxieties. Most of you have been glued to your children since March 2020 and this is going to be a big transition. We all know children feel safer and thrive best in a stable environment. So, how can parents, guardians, and caregivers best support children as they return to the office?
First and foremost, communication! Prepare them mentally by telling them you will soon be returning to the office (even if just part-time). Take it one step further and talk to them about what you do for a living. Be proud and excited about your job and make them feel involved in that excitement. Why does your work matter for your family? What does it provide? Now is a great time to share that with them. Children are bound to suffer from separation anxiety, but studies show that involving children and showing them what you for a living, helps!
Encourage your children to discuss their feelings. Make them feel heard. Not just about the upcoming year but let them know they can share with you whenever and whatever they need to.
We recommend having a plan for keeping each other updated during the day. Are your children old enough to have their own phone and text? Are you able to do a quick video call with your littler ones? Who will be watching the younger children during the days? Talk to this person and get them involved.
If you have more than one child, spend some time with them individually. While this may seem like common sense, it’s a big one. Each one of your children should have time to bond with you and speak with you before their routines change.
Involve them! Just like how you may pack their lunch and prepare their backpack for school, show them how you prepare for work. Let them help you. Better yet, take turns to pack their school bag together and then pack your work bag.
Once you have started getting back to work and they have returned to school, stay involved in each other’s daily lives by sitting down at dinner and having everyone share one high and one low from their day. We know that not every family has the luxury of time together so maybe try to aim for one meal a week where you can go around the table and discuss your “rose” and your “thorn” from the week.
Earlier, we mentioned involving your childcare provider. Fill them in on your plan to support your children during this time and make sure they are on the same page and can follow suit at home. This is paramount to providing that stability that kids crave.
For many of you returning to work, you may not have a childcare plan in place yet. If you need the assistance of a nanny, please reach out to email@example.com. Need someone for 4-5 hours after school? Yes, we do part-time placements! Know someone wonderful with childcare experience who is seeking an afternoon position? Send them our way.
We wish everyone the best of luck with their returns and remember, we are always here to help!