The end of school holidays often brings mixed emotions for the parents and children we support, who need to turn their thoughts to almost ‘re-programming’ themselves after a long, less structured, out of routine break.
The thought of getting ready in the morning for school, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed (uniforms!) and everything else that comes with school can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are some tips and tricks to help increase the likelihood of a smooth and successful transition back to school for you and your child.
While the sun is shining why not take your child to their school to have a walk around and explore the environment? Have a play in the playground and take some photos so you can look over them again at home to increase comfort in the new environment. Using your smartphone for photos can be useful as they are easily accessible.
Start getting your child into bed a little earlier each night in the week leading up to the start of school to ensure they are in a good routine by the time school starts. Make a morning picture chart or schedule with a list of the steps for getting ready more independently in the mornings. These can be home-made using whiteboards for example, or are available ready-made if you need to save time. The My Busy Day schedule is one of our favourites. Use a timer to help stay on track. Timers are a fantastic resource for motivating children to get ready in time for school in the mornings. Use as a motivator to be at the breakfast table in time, or to finish getting dressed in a short time frame. Some children may benefit from having a small reward for working through their schedule (something like a high-5, watching a favourite cartoon, or having a quick play on the iPad).
School snack and lunches:
We know how difficult it can be for parents with a child who eats a limited variety of food. Have your child participate in packing their school lunch or writing a lunch menu that they can choose from each day for school. Success is typically achieved more easily when a child is given options. Instead of asking an open ended question like, “what do you want on your sandwich?”, try giving concrete choices… “do you want cheese, or jam?”. For more general advice and great ideas, we love 'Finicky Eaters: What to do when kids won't eat'.
Even though getting back into the swing of things for school can take a lot of time and planning, preparation always pays off! The invaluable support, preparation and guidance you offer your child helps them to feel more confident, comfortable and independent while making this big transition.
We wish everyone all the best for the school year!