The summer is going by so fast. Routines have been changed and days have become longer. Before you know it, summer will be over and school will be starting again. It is so hard for many of our children to accept huge changes in their environment.
What are some ways to get your child ready for the big transition? How can you make returning to school go smoother?
Begin school bedtime and wake-up times a couple weeks before school actually starts. Morning school routines are the hardest at our house. We start working on this a month before going back to school. This includes wake-up time, having the school outfit planned and ready, and working on dressing skills.
The next big accomplishments for the morning time are bathroom and eating skills. It might take a few trials to find out how long this will take. Wake-up time needs to be early enough to give plenty of time to complete these daily tasks before it is time to leave.
It is also important to add a little more time for unexpected mishaps. This will make for a much smoother transition in the morning.
Start to associate school with fun and familiar faces. Take a visit to the school building before school actually begins. Visit the playground and also try to get pictures of your child’s new teachers. Take pictures of the outside of the school and the classroom. This way you can make a social story book to have at home. Read it with your child. You can learn more about social stories on this website.
Making a daily activity map or picture schedule will also help. Each morning before school, look over the schedule with your child. You could even attach a copy of it to your child's backpack. Talk with your child’s teacher to see if you can put a copy of it in the classroom, as well.
The picture schedules really help my daughter. She is twelve and can’t read but needs routine to follow. The pictures help her know what to expect and when. Her day is planned and she knows what will be happening. On most days, this means she does not have to question what activity will come next. This gives her a mental picture of the order of what her day is going to be like.
These are a few ideas for you to get started. Transition time for our children is always very hard. With a few tools and visits to the school, your child’s transition will hopefully go smoother.
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