The new school year is right around the corner. This time of year may be both exciting and anxiety producing for your child. Some of the challenges your child may face include getting enough sleep, setting a routine, and waking up on time. Following close to three months of summer fun, they may find it challenging to sit at a desk for a length of time, follow directions, stay on task, and attend to the teacher’s lesson. It’s important to remember what it is like as a child to start a new school year, meet a new teacher, and make new friends! Let’s look at some ideas to assist your child in returning to school successfully.
Does your child struggle with changes in their daily routine? If so, you may consider allowing time to adjust to a new sleep schedule by altering bedtime/wake time for a few weeks prior to the start of the school year. You can create an alarm schedule that shortens 5 minutes each day to ease into a good wake up time. For additional morning motivation, you can reinforce their wake- up time by making their favorite breakfast, having a highly preferred activity planned, or time to play with their favorite pet.
A new classroom or school is a big change. One way to help your child is to develop opportunities to expose your child to the new environment as much as possible. This could mean taking a drive around the school and talking with your child about the fun things that will take place. You may consider asking the school for an early opportunity to meet the teacher and see their new classroom prior to the start of school. This will help your child visualize what the first day may look like, help them learn the layout of the school, and be better familiar with the environment.
Check with the school/teacher to see what their new daily schedule will look like. You may then be able to set your child’s day at home in a similar fashion. Tools to include may be creating a visual schedule, setting a timer, having a designated area for reading or activities. If you’re able this is a great time to pair similar school activities with highly preferred items. Does your child have trouble sitting? Incorporate some fun activities with the goal of staying seated. Here are some examples your child might enjoy including, Playdoh, preparing a snack to eat, art project, sensory bins, or playing a favorite game. Just remember if your child gets up, pause the activity, ask them to sit back down, then resume it.
Additional opportunities to establish excitement about school is to include your child in back-to- school shopping. Let your child pick their favorite backpack or lunchbox, select their favorite snacks or lunches, or perhaps even a small gift to bring the teacher on the first day!
We are thrilled that you are here with us during the new school year and want you to know we are here to support you along the way. We are wishing our “Butterflies” a successful first day!