It seems that back-to-school time always sneaks up. Before you know it, the summer is over and school is starting again. Helping your child ease from the lazy days of summer to the structured days of fall is important. If your child has ADD / ADHD, transitions can sometimes be difficult. Many children experience mixed feelings about restarting school. School may create feelings of excitement, but it can also create some anxiety, especially if previous school experiences have been frustrating.
Here are some tips to make back to school a little easier.
Adjust Bed and Wake Up Times
For many of us, summer means later bedtimes and wake up times. If this is the case in your home, help your child adjust to a new schedule by moving bedtimes and wake up times to the actual times they will be during the school year. Make sure the new schedule allows for enough sleep time at night. Good quality sleep is important for learning and for your child’s overall health.
Organize School Supplies
Make a fun time out of buying new school supplies and organizing the school backpack. You can also use this time to talk with your child about his feelings related to school. Reflect upon his feelings and be a good listener.
Mark the Start of School on a Calendar
Use a calendar to identify the day school will begin. If it is fun for your child and doesn’t create increased anxiety, you can also have your child use the calendar to mark off the days until school starts.
Set Up Visits with School Friends
Get the class list and set up a few play dates with classmates. If your child is better in smaller groups or needs some guidance socially, try setting up a play time with one friend at a time and structure the play date. If your child really enjoys arts and crafts, plan an art activity. If he likes to cook, plan a cooking activity to do with the friend. Provide support and guidance as needed.
Visit the New Classroom and Teacher
Visit the classroom and teacher before school starts. Work out a time with the teacher when she is available and the classroom will be quiet and stress free. The teacher can show your child around to his desk, cubby or locker, bathroom, etc.
Create a Study Area at Home
If your child will be assigned homework during the school year, spend time before school starts creating a nice study area. Make this work space their permanent identified place for study. Make sure all necessary materials are available in the area – pencils, pencil sharpener, paper, good light, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, ruler, etc. Come up with homework rules – what time it will begin, no television during homework time, no clutter on homework desk, etc. If your child can concentrate better with a little white noise, make arrangements for that to be on during study time.
Identify “Homes” for Backpack and Lunch Bags
Together with your child designate the special area where he will keep his backpack and lunch bag. Help him get into the habit of putting these items in their designated areas when he comes home from school each day. Getting into this routine will help him keep better track of his important school items. Help him organize and clean out his backpack each day.
Good nutrition is important for all children. Get your child’s input on what kinds of healthy foods he would like for breakfast, school lunches and snacks. Let him chose from a variety of foods, including whole grains, proteins and dairy sources, fruit and veggies.
Check School Clothes
Parents don’t need to spend a bundle on back-to-school clothes. In fact, you may not need to purchase any new outfits. Spend some time with your child going through and organizing his clothes drawers and closet. Summertime is often spent in flip-flops and tank tops. Make sure your child has what he needs (and what fits!) for the start of the school year, including shoes he can wear for outdoor play and P.E.
The new school year can create anxieties in parents, too! Help your child to feel positive about school by being calm and positive yourself. Remind your child to enjoy himself and have fun.
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