Summertime can be great fun for kids, and it can be a shock to the system when it's time to go back to school—especially if your child has behavioral or learning challenges. One of the toughest parts of the back to school transition is getting used to a new daily routine.
Luckily, if you're the parent of a child that struggles, there are some steps that you can make to minimize how difficult the transition will feel. Here are some of the simplest and most effective.
Make the Change Slowly
If your child's routine is going to change, don't do it overnight. Instead, do it over the course of a couple weeks. Slowly move activities backward or forward by 15 minutes (for example wake up time or bedtime), so that the change is gradual. That way, the new routine won't feel like anything drastic when it comes time to start classes.
Talk to Your Children About Their Worries
Part of the reason that a change in routine is so hard is because it causes anxiety in children who don't know what to expect. Talk to your children openly about their worries, and let them know they are free to express their anxiety to you. By talking through what makes them feel scared, you can alleviate their fears and prepare them for all the exciting things to come.
Make Sure Everyone Gets Enough Sleep
Sleep is of utmost importance when it comes to staying healthy, calm, and ready for a new school year. When you're transitioning to a new routine, always ensure you prioritize working in plenty of sleep time. Children should get at least 8 hours of sleep, and you can be a role model for your child by also prioritizing the amount of sleep that you get.
Create a "Leaving the House" Routine
Create a routine that you do every time you leave the house. Designate a space to keep shoes and backpacks, then every time you leave the house, make sure you sit and do the same routine: put on socks and shoes, tie shoelaces, zip up jacket, etc. Do this routine all summer. If you have a routine you use every time you leave the house, it will create some consistency on the days that kids start leaving for school.
To learn more about why our whole-child approach is the most effective way to help your child, contact us online or find a center near you.