Coming back to school after winter break can be difficult.
The 2022 school year will be no different with its plethora of unique circumstances. Students and families across the country will be returning to school and will need time to adjust to the upcoming semester like never before.
Choose Your Mindset
We know that returning to school after winter break is an adjustment for both students and staff. In a normal school year, it takes a few days for everyone to get back into the swing of things. Most students are off schedule and tired. Many are unregulated from the lack of routine and predictability in their lives.
Mentally prepare for the fact that coming back to school this year may again come with more unique challenges than usual. If it works for you, use visualization and positive self-talk to prepare yourself for what is ahead. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan for how you will maintain a positive mindset and optimistic outlook for what is to come.
Many students are craving connection and attention. The lack of social interactions over winter break takes a toll on many youth and students are looking for adult and peer attention. Your positive attention and kind words can make all the difference in the life of your students.
Do your best to do quick check-ins with as many students as possible, using their names as frequently as you can. During the first few days back from winter break, set students up for success by being visible during the start of the school day, lunch, and dismissal, making connections with as many kiddos as you are able.
Spot the Strugglers
Some students are going to struggle more than others as they come back from winter break. This could potentially be the first time a student has been seen by someone outside their family in a couple weeks. They may need extra support. Pay special attention to students who look like they are struggling or may need to talk to someone.
COVID Friendly Lessons
It’s our job to help build and develop social-emotional skills. With COVID, it is also our job to keep our students safe and adhering to social distancing guidelines. It can be difficult to achieve both since most of our lessons have students working in teams or refining their social skills through interactions with peers. We must find creative ways to help students develop their skills while keeping them a safe distance from one another.
We have started using digital activities to teach social skills while keeping kids safe. Digital activities can be done as a whole group! We try to keep our lessons interactive and engaging by using fun graphics, memes, and other engaging content.
Create A Return from Winter Break Care Plan
2021 was a special kind of stressful. Working in education comes with more than its fair share of challenges and chaos; 2021 came with a special kind of stress that we cannot describe in words, but all educators feel!
Dedicated time for self-care is more important now than ever before. One thing that works well to help prevent getting overwhelmed is having a self-care plan. We don’t mean taking a spa day, although that certainly sounds divine. We mean being intentional with our care like we would be with the care of our very own children.
Self-care might look like:
- Setting boundaries with others by saying no
- Going to bed early and waking up before anyone else to get some quiet time
- Going on walks to help organize your thoughts and clear the mind
- Taking a moment to regroup with a warm coffee or tea midday
- Reframing negative thoughts as they arise
Listen to your body and speak kindly to yourself.
If you are struggling, seek professional assistance or speak to someone about your concerns. `
Take care of yourself so you can better take care of everyone else!