Creating a Back to School Routine for Kids with Learning Differences
Dragging children out of bed in the morning can be difficult on a normal day. After a long summer of sleeping in and staying up late is over, it can be even more challenging. Starting kids on their school routines a couple weeks before school starts eases anxieties and reduces morning stress, especially for kids with learning disabilities.
Adjust the Morning Routine
If your child has been waking up late during the summer, start adjusting the wake-up time one to two weeks before school begins. Wake your child up at 11 a.m. for a couple days, then at 10:30 for a couple days, starting the day earlier until you are back on school time. This gentle routine works for children who don't like drastic changes or who may have anxiety issues. If possible, leave the house at the same time you would during the academic year.
Try saying, "Tomorrow we have an appointment at 10:30 a.m., so I will wake up you at 10 a.m." The "appointment" could be breakfast with grandma or a special shopping trip. The goal is to get your child's body ready for an earlier wake-up call, but there's no need to make it serious. Turn it into a celebration!
Anticipate the Midday Routine
Look at your child's school schedule and note the time when he is likely to eat lunch. Using the same incremental method as above, encourage your child to eat at the same time that lunch is served during the school year.
Do the same for the after school schedule. Encourage your child to play outside and get some physical activity if he normally plays after school sports. If he is responsible for any chores after school, have him start these tasks around the same time he would during the school year. Kids with learning and behavioral issues often have energy to burn, and physical tasks can help them concentrate on homework later in the evening.
Prepare an Evening Routine
The evening routine serves as preparation for the next day. It is a time to pack lunches, organize the book bag and set out clothes for the next day. In order to accomplish these tasks it is a good idea to turn off distracting electronics like tablets and computers until all preparations have been completed.
Creating a good routine allows children with learning differences to set reasonable expectations for the next day and feel comfortable with what will be required of them. Because they will feel prepared, they can head back to school with less anxiety and focus instead on academic progress and building positive social relationships.
To schedule a free consultation to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help your child reach their full potential, contact us online or find a center near you.