Back to School – Summer break is coming to an end and a new school year is fast approaching. You might be feeling stressed or anxious for your child’s year ahead, but it’s ok! Our FirstPath team has come up with 7 back to school tips for making that transition smoother for both you and your child.
Preparation is key.
When you feel prepared, you feel more calm and confident. There are several ways to get yourself and your child ready for that first day. It is helpful to have the following planned and ready to go ahead of time.
Select your child’s clothing the night before.
Better yet, planning out outfits for the week. It’s a great idea to do this with your child because it offers the opportunity to teach them about weather-appropriate clothing and gives them a sense of control. If your child tends to engage in maladaptive behavior during this activity, then this should be handled carefully. FirstPath provides helpful approaches to manage this behavior.
Plan your child’s breakfast.
This should be something that is healthy but also something your child enjoys. Giving your child a couple options and having them choose will increase the likelihood of them eating it without any fuss. It is important for your child to go to school with a full stomach so the feeling of hunger does not influence any maladaptive behaviors.
If your child brings lunch to school, it is also helpful to have that packed the night before. Your child may assist in that task, which may give them a sense of accomplishment.
Ensure that all materials and homework are packed in your child’s backpack the night before.
To avoid those frantic searches in the morning, it is a good idea to get your child in the habit of putting their backpack by the door, so it can be conveniently picked up on the way out to the car. This can be added to your child’s nighttime routine so it will naturally become part of their daily schedule.
Emotional preparation is just as important.
Your child’s anxiety about starting school may be eased by giving them a better idea for what to expect.
Talk with your child.
Taking the time to ask your child how they are feeling about starting school may provide you with insight that you may have otherwise missed. Your child may be feeling a variety of emotions but may not initiate that conversation on their own.
Perhaps even conversating about it is not the route to go with your child, after all you know your child best. If that’s the case, encourage your child to draw, write, or relate how they are feeling in their own way, whatever that may be.
It is a great idea to continue devoting time to do this as the school year progresses. Having your child start a journal about their school days can be an excellent way for them to express their feelings as well as being a great way for you to understand what is going on with your child.
Role-play with your child.
You could run through different scenarios with them having you act as the teacher or a peer. It can be fun for both you and your child and will strengthen your child’s social skills. If your child runs into a problem at school, you can go over how to handle similar future situations.
This is also a good time to prepare for any emergency situations that may come up. Your child should know what to do ahead of time. Review situations where your child may need help, so they stay safe and can get the help they need.
Review school and classroom rules.
Your child will have a better understanding of what will be expected of them. Making an organized, visual representation of this may make it clearer for your child. Visual representations can also be a chance to make things fun and engaging for your child, using fun illustrations or FirstPath’s Steps To Social Success stories.
Demonstrate how to approach other kids.
Your child may not initiate social interaction on their own, so practicing with them is beneficial. Showing your child how to greet others, introduce themselves, ask questions, and make eye contact are all important for positive social relationships.
Getting into a school routine will relieve a lot of headaches for both you and your child. This may take some time- and that is perfectly okay! Staying consistent and not giving up will make all the difference.
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