There A LOT of unknowns right now when it comes to school.
And, if we parents are stressing this much, imagine how our kids are feeling.
That’s why we got with moms and educators, Amanda Kopischke and Angela Anderson who co-founded Incubate to Innovate, to help give us all some tips on how to equip our families for resilience, no matter what happens in the coming weeks.
Amanda and Angela crated Incubate to Innovate to give educators innovative pedagogical practices and tools to transform teaching and learning experiences and environments. They offer coaching and extensive resources around their ChangeMaker Mindsets (more on that in a bit), which they developed to fuel growth and innovation using 21st-century skills. They also bring together educators and others worldwide through their network, ChangeMakers for Impact, for daily resourcing, collaboration, encouragement, and learning opportunities.
Basically, they are doing some super cool stuff that’s super needed, especially now. Read on for their tips on how to best prepare kids for this school year.
By Amanda Kopischke and Angela Anderson
How do we prepare children of all ages for what this school year might hold?
What does it look like to equip and empower our children so RESILIENCE is cultivated no matter what circumstances and challenges come their way?
These are questions we wrestle with as moms and educators.
Now more than ever before, our children need to be equipped and empowered to navigate the ambiguity of our complex, rapidly changing world. They are mourning losses of what life used to be like while staring into a future that feels unknown. Big emotions abound, as they miss activities and special celebrations, face various concerns about the viral pandemic, and advocate for social justice. Change and unknowns have breached their pillars of normalcy, and many wonder what “back to school” will look like this year.
The job of a parent is no longer about preparing our children for a specific something. Rather, it is about equipping and empowering our children to be prepared for anything, and RESILIENCE is the vehicle.
Raising our children to be ChangeMakers in the world equips them to take creative ACTION to solve problems and create opportunities in empathetic, impactful ways. Embracing our ChangeMaker Mindsets while cultivating resilience can help our children and young people prepare for the start of the school year while also developing skills and attributes that will benefit them their entire lives. We can start with ourselves and think about how we, as parents, show up for our kids during this uncertain time.
Lead with Empathy
As a parent, it has never been more important to lead with empathy. Listening with a heart of understanding to the worries, concerns, and celebrations of our kids will equip us to guide, reassure, and encourage their hearts. Our children feel our authentic engagement, which creates a safe environment for them to share thoughts and feelings. When we more fully understand what is driving their worries, we can better lead and guide them in finding solutions and opportunities to grow. We can help cultivate the resilience they need to not only survive but thrive.
Despite that we may feel like we don’t have enough hours in the day, it’s more important than ever to connect face to face with the young people in our lives — our own children, nieces, and nephews, family friends, and neighbors. Consider scheduling time on the calendar to SHOW UP and listen. Children want to know that we have their back and that we are their biggest fans. We get to validate their feelings and what they are wrestling through and that it matters. When leading with empathy is lived out in the home, children start to experience authentic relationships, care, and trust that will permeate their future relationships and perspective. And, when children learn this from a young age, they are better equipped to focus on OTHERS rather than themselves.
This past spring, Angela’s young daughter Ella was processing her feelings about school ending for the rest of the year. As she shared, the conversation quickly drifted back to her teacher and classmates and what they must be feeling. Ella was indeed sad, confused, and frustrated about the loss of school, friends, and experiences, but experience guided her to consider what others were going through and the things she could do to encourage their hearts and be a blessing to them during this time.
Pivot with Perseverance
When we look back on the past few months and think about all of the “pivots” we have had to make, personally and professionally, it’s no wonder we feel exhausted and overwhelmed at times. One of our favorite growth challenges is to take pivoting to the next level, allowing all the beautiful and hard things to come together for GOOD. We are pretty good at pivoting, but “Pivoting with Perseverance” is more challenging as it requires a positive attitude to follow suit.
Practice it today with your kids, and talk it through so your kids start to identify opportunities to apply it in their day-to-day lives.
Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt like almost every moment was filled with change and the need for gracious flexibility. Acknowledging that it’s happening and that it’s hard at times, is beneficial for kids to hear, and it offers a beautiful opportunity to connect and celebrate progress. The challenges present growth opportunities for our children to develop skills and attributes that will enrich their lives long after they’re outside our homes.
It has to start with our mindset first as parents. Purposefully embrace the ChangeMaker Mindsets yourself and in your family routines. Integrating them into your daily interactions establishes healthy habits for you, your children, and your community. This is a critical step forward in preparing children to be the resilient ChangeMakers our world needs, and helps them to be ready for ANYTHING that comes their way.
Support the Helpers
Helping others is another strategy to relieve some of our own worries. Not only does it feel good to do good; it’s also empowering to realize how much impact we can have. The same teachers, whose job descriptions transformed with a jolt this spring, are now preparing for a school year filled with uncertainty. They are truly making the impossible POSSIBLE for our children. You can help equip these teacher heroes with resources and support that will contribute directly to increased RESILIENCE for the whole class.
Really, the very same mindsets apply. Lead with Empathy and connect with teachers you know, and ask them to share their challenges and needs. Express your appreciation for all the work they’re doing and the ways they are daily choosing to Pivot with Perseverance.
Think about how you can apply your skills or assets to help. We find relief in helping others, and we need one another more than ever before!
Recently, we gave 110 teachers free lifetime memberships to our ChangeMakers for Impact community to collaborate and connect with others who are facing the same challenges, as well as resources that help them to create environments of innovation in the physical or virtual classroom. If you’d like, you can do the same here. Each $30 donation will generate a lifetime membership gift for a teacher, which you can give to a teacher in your life, or we’ll pass along to a teacher who serves students in challenged areas. When teachers are poured into, they can better guide our children through all of the big changes that will come next year.
We can not control all the circumstances, but we get to intentionally choose our mindset and how we pour into those who pour into our children. —Amanda Kopischke and Angela Anderson