With Labor Day on the horizon , the number one thought on everyone’s mind, whether begrudgingly or excitedly are... BACK TO SCHOOL!
Being a parent of a child who has special needs, this time of year can be filled with anxiety from all of the new transitions, meeting new friends and teachers, and possibly a new commute. Here are some tips to help you and your child have an easier transition into September!
Talk about what’s coming up for your child.
Depending on your child’s communicative abilities, use lots of visuals (pictures of the school, pictures of their classroom and pictures of their new teacher). Talk about how they’ll get to school, who will take them and pick them up. Talk often about their new teacher and possible new classmates, what their schedule might look like and what they are excited and nervous about.
Use a visual schedule for mornings and after school
Transitioning from the dog days of summer to a rigid routine can be hard for anyone! Providing your child with a visual schedule that could look something like this:
will help make your mornings and after school hours less hectic! Another tip, start creating a more consistent routine a few weeks before school actually starts (i.e. earlier bed time, earlier wake time).
Backpack and lunchbox shopping
Having your child participate in picking out their backpack and lunchbox will help to create some excitement for you and your child. It will also represent a piece of home for your child to bring to their new setting!
Packing lunch is a family affair!
Make packing lunch and snacks for school a family affair for the first few weeks! It’s a great idea to include your children in everyday routines like prepping and cooking meals on a regular basis. However, having them pick out their favorite lunch and healthy special snack will create anticipation and provide your child some agency in the “back to school” process.
Practice mindfulness with your child
As a certified Kids Yoga Teacher, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of introducing meditation and mindfulness in young children. Just as it helps adults, kids will benefit from mindfulness and breathing strategies to cope with all of the changes and stimulation around them. The best way to introduce meditation and mindfulness is to lead by example. Here are some great books to help get you started:
Take a deep breath and give it time
You’ve got this mom and dad! The first few weeks will likely have a few bumps in the road but understand that adjusting to the new routine could take a few weeks. Once everyone is settled into their new routines, you’ll be excited to see all the progress in the year ahead!
Good luck and have a wonderful school year!!
Rosemarie Ott, MA, CCC-SLP
Do you have concerns about your child's communication skills? Contact me here to schedule a consultation.