Back to School, Back to Routine
Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L
Can you believe that the first day of school is right around the corner?! With only a few more weeks to go, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to make the adjustment as smooth as possible. Here are some tips for easing the transition:
· Start waking up earlier! While some kids are early risers all year round, others enjoy the opportunity to stay up late and sleep in during summer. If your child is a summertime night owl, consider slowly shifting bedtime and wake time in 15 minute increments over several days, until you’re on the schedule you need to be for the school day.
· Think about classroom expectations that can be hard for your child, and start practicing them now. If your child has trouble sitting still, pull out some tabletop games and activities that start to get them used to sitting in their chair for an entire activity. If your child gets the wiggles, think about appropriate and sneaky ways for them to get movement in (stretching their fingers, giving themselves a hug, or clenching their toes can provide just a little bit of proprioceptive input that can help calm the body). If your child needs more input than that, it’s a good idea to bring up your concerns to an OT.
· Do a trial run of getting out the door on time! Go through your morning routine to get an idea of how long it takes to complete, so you aren’t surprised the first day by being rushed (which can be stressful), or by being done early, and left to sit and wait (providing more time for nerves to grow and wiggles to come out).
· Talk about it! For many kids, talking about the upcoming school year, the new classroom, and any changes they should expect, can help them feel prepared for it. Give them a chance to verbalize their feelings and ask questions, and try to keep the conversation calm and positive.
· Visual Schedules and Social Stories can help ease anxieties about a new school year. This is a simple way to help an anxious child know what to expect out of their day. Your child’s therapist can help make a social story that is customized for you, and ask us about our custom visual schedules!