This year, the decisions we are facing regarding sending kids back to school are not easy. With COVID-19 worries, we have to hope we are making the best choices for our family whether that is brick & mortar school, virtual school, or homeschooling. As my family makes our choice, I also wish for grace & support from my mom friends and family. One of the ways I recently reached out for support was by asking on social media for tips, tricks, & supplies that will help with back to school during this crazy time. I have collected my favorites to share with my Pensacola Mom Collective village.
Brick & Mortar Recommendations
Portable Hand Sanitizer Dispenser Bottles – These come with stretchable lanyards that can be attached to backpacks and lunch bags. This was the first COVID back to school supply that I ordered.
Shoes without laces – It is inevitable; the shoes will come untied and the laces will drag on the ground. Your little one’s hands will touch the laces, or the teacher will have to touch the laces to help with tying. My kids’ favorite brands are Skechers & Vans but there are so many options out there. Let’s avoid this & help our teachers!
Face Mask Lanyard – One year ago, if someone told me we would need mask lanyards, I would have not known what they were. This year, I’m adding them to my must-have list to keep masks from dropping to the floor. I have found them on Amazon & Etsy.
Fun Pencils & Pens – If our children can easily distinguish their pencil or pen from their classmates, we can avoid the sharing of supplies. Fingers crossed there will be less sharing! The same goes for scissors, pencil cases, etc. – unique is “in” this year.
Mask recommendations – Find masks that are also used for sports. These masks have a double strap and are very breathable. Another recommendation I received is a DNA mask that has the same filtration as N95 masks. Personally, we’ve used the ORLY Fabric Masks and my kids find them soft & breathable.
Lunch – How is lunchtime going to change? I have heard rumors of no hot lunches; only bagged lunches that can be purchased through the cafeteria. I have also heard some schools may eat in the cafeteria with assigned seating while others may have the students eat in their classroom. Whatever the changes may be, it will be different. If you are packing lunches for the first time this year, do yourself a favor and find a lunchbox with compartments. We use the Bentgo Box but there are many lunch containers all over the internet with compartments for our younger & older kids.
Virtual Learning & Homeschooling Recommendations
Dry erase board – These come in various sizes, both handheld and larger in size if you have space to hang one on the wall. This could be used as a practice board or to write out the assignments for the day. It is so gratifying to erase assignments off the list as they are completed.
Dedicated desk space – Create an area for school time. It is easy for both kids and adults to get distracted, so a special school space can help kids stay focused and separate school time from playtime. While searching online, I found a few that I had to share:
Melissa & Doug – If you have not used these educational toys previously, do yourself a favor and grab one! They are great quality educational toys that help teach everything from telling time to tying shoes.
A Timer – One of my savvy mom friends recommended a timer. Kids can get burned out, so it’s helpful to set time limits on assignments. You can always add more time or go back to an assignment later.
And finally, organization – I love organization! Consider an art caddy for art supplies, a student planner for older students, a bookshelf, a cubby! The options are endless to create the right environment.
Wine, Chocolate, Bath Bombs, Ice Cream – Whatever your vice, keep some on hand. This will be hard; there will be bad days. We need to take care of ourselves too.
As a disclaimer, I am not a teacher. I’m just a mom that likes to be prepared and share the tips I’ve received. Our teachers are in this with us – reach out, find out their recommendations, and share them with friends.
We will get through this!