As parents, we get excited about what each new school year will hold for our children: new friendships, new experiences, and new opportunities for learning and growth. But preparation for this year’s going back to school is full of concern and chaos. Deciding on whether to homeschool your children, do virtual learning, or send them to school in person is such a heavy burden. Friend, please give yourself grace in this—each choice bares uncertainty, and there is no perfect answer.
No matter what, this school year will be different from all the years’ past. How do we prepare our children well for these differences and changes? How do we walk our children who need additional educational support for special needs or Individual Education Plans? How do we help them find joy in the midst of the hard? How do WE find joy in the middle of the hard? Right now, there are more questions than answers, that’s for sure.
It’s crucial that we, as parents, equip ourselves to care and advocate for our kids well, especially in this weird school year. Check out the resources we’ve gathered below. They were not explicitly created for this school year or since COVID has entered our world, but there are still great tips and thoughts you can process. Make a list of things you find helpful, then decide if/how you can implement some to help you and your children succeed in this new crazy school year.
“Sometimes, the going is rough—most foster parents know this to be true. Catie suggests making sure that you get time to yourself—especially if you’ve had some hard situations to deal with. “If you’re not careful, those who are serving the traumatized can become traumatized themselves.” To help avoid this “secondary trauma,” she suggests having outside counsel—people who can speak into your life to help you maintain a good balance and see things clearly. These people can also give you space to breathe personally and help protect your marriage and your forever children.”
Parents of foster and adoptive children often face additional considerations in school situations regarding their child’s well-being. Mike and Kristin Berry talk about some of the things parents need to remember when talking with teachers or the principal, as well as delighting in and being an observer of your child.
“It is important to come equipped with a tool belt of resources to make this transition just a tiny bit smoother. Many of our children struggle with trauma, attachment, special needs and mental health challenges; often in a myriad of combinations. Below I will outline just a few ways you can make the transition back to school easier, and hopefully start the year off strong!”
“I worry about the type of teachers my children are going to have. My children need structure. They thrive on structure, but they also need a teacher to meet them where they are. They need a teacher who understands that their brains have been physically altered due to the abuse and neglect they suffered when they were younger. Some of them lack self-esteem. Some of them have poor self-regulation. It takes my children longer than most to form attachments with adults they do not know.”
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