It’s hard to believe that school is officially back in session. This year, things are looking different than ever before. Claremore schools are offering in-class, at-home and hybrid learning options, while the Tulsa school year will be strictly virtual for at least the first nine weeks. Back-to-school is a tricky process for parents and kids to navigate this year, but The Brace Place wants to help you ease into the 2020 school year as smoothly as possible by giving you a headstart with some orthodontic tips as well as general ones.
As orthodontists in Claremore and Tulsa, we treat smiles of all ages and we know that back-to-school season can be tough on families — especially if your child is starting orthodontic treatment. Your kids are already going through so many changes this year, so we’re here to help make their lives (and yours!) a little easier. Whether your kids are heading back to the classroom or are learning from home this school year, here are our top back-to-school tips for kids with braces or Invisalign.
1. Encourage your Kids to Continue Social Distancing
For kiddos going back to school in person this year, social distancing is more important than ever. It will understandably be tempting for kids to want to hug their friends or play with classmates on the playground, but they need to maintain a safe distance wherever possible. You’ve likely spent these last few months teaching your kids all about healthy practices during COVID-19. Before sending them back to the classroom, be sure to review physical distancing protocols to make sure they understand how it helps keep everyone safe. Of course, your child’s teachers will be maintaining these measures in person, but education always starts at home.
2. Create an At-Home School Schedule
For children sticking to online learning, setting a concrete school schedule will help them stay on track. Just like you may have struggled to adjust to working from home, your child may have challenges with adjusting to virtual school. There are so many different distractions at home, not to mention that their teacher can’t keep as close an eye on them to make sure they’re paying attention! This year, the onus falls on parents to keep their kids focused.
Your child’s school will already have a set schedule and curriculum for them to follow. But scheduling breaks into your child’s day can keep them motivated and engaged. For kids with braces or Invisalign, make sure to include time for brushing and flossing after snack or lunch breaks. After all, your child’s oral health is just as important as their education!
3. Make a Homework (or Home Schooling) Station
Whether your child is exclusively attending school remotely or simply has homework, creating a designated workspace can do wonders for their learning. Not only is a homework station amazing for staying organized — it also helps to guarantee your child is actually focusing on school. Choose a quiet area of the house (such as a corner of the living room or in your child’s bedroom) and set up a comfortable desk space that’s used only for school or homework. Then stock the space with everything your child needs for a successful school year: pencils, paper, calculator, laptop or computer if necessary, and so on. Having a special place to sit down and get to work will set your child up for success.
4. Meal Prep Braces-Friendly Foods
Meal-prepping isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of our favorite back-to-school hacks for busy parents. Once you get into the rhythm, it can be a huge time-saver and guarantees your child always has a braces-friendly meal on hand. This goes for kids who are learning from home or in the classroom.
For kids with braces, you’ll want to make sure to avoid any crunchy, chewy or sticky foods, as well as anything your child would have to bite into (such as whole apples or carrots). Easy-to-eat sandwiches (like peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, or tuna salad) are fantastic braces-friendly lunch ideas. Add in fresh, bite-sized fruits like berries or apple slices and you have a healthy, well-balanced meal. For extra busy parents, we recommend making a lunch schedule for each day of the week. For example, sandwiches on Monday, pasta salad on Tuesdays, and so on. With an easy-to-follow meal plan, you’ll never again have to worry about what to pack your child with braces for lunch.
5. Schedule Orthodontic Appointments in Advance
Once you’re fully immersed into the back-to-school hustle, schedules can get out of hand before you know it. Even though many extracurricular activities are off the table this year, your family’s calendar is probably already filling up and it can be easy to forget about certain appointments, like orthodontist visits. We always recommend pre-booking your child’s appointments — especially visits that fall during the school year — to make sure their treatment stays on track. We get busy at this time of year, too!
Need to get your child’s next few orthodontic visits on the books? Contact The Brace Place now to schedule them in!