As the summer winds down, thoughts turn to preparing children for the upcoming beginning of the new school year. Transitions can be challenging, even difficult for some children; children with ADHD often have a particularly difficult time. Adapting to changes in schedules, getting up earlier, having to do homework, and having to remember all items to take to and from school can be a daunting task. Parents/caregivers can help ease the transition, and help their child(ren) to begin the academic year successfully by following a few simple tips.
Create A Countdown Calendar
We have found that keeping students aware of when school begins, perhaps counting down the weeks and days, and posting it on a calendar where family activities are recorded, helps the child to be an active participant in keeping track of time.
Begin Transitioning Sleep Schedules (For Everyone) To Align With School
Preparing your child(ren) for return to school can improve their mental wellness and make things easier for parents, too. Adequate sleep is essential. If summer allows for a rather irregular bedtime, then getting back to a regular sleep schedule a few weeks before the beginning of school is a start. With having enough sleep, children can focus, follow directions, are less forgetful, be more friendly, and make appropriate choices. As parents, having adequate sleep will help us to have more energy, more patience, be more responsive to our children’s needs, and be more able to handle our children’s emotions as well.
Spend Some Time Briefly Reviewing Some Of The Things Learned In The Prior Year
Usually, at the beginning of the school year, a review of what was covered during the prior grade will be done. However, it is a very brief and rapid review. Over the summer some children can lose some of what they had learned the previous school year, so setting aside 10 to 30 minutes a day for review of math facts, grammar, reading, or other grade level material might be helpful. It serves to get the child into “school mode”.
Revisit Your Student’s IEP or 504 Plan
There are a variety of strategies, which parents can use to prepare for a successful school year. Firstly, if your child has an IEP or 504 plan, meet with teacher prior to the first day to be sure he or she is aware of your child’s plan. This time is a good opportunity to discuss what worked last year, and the accommodations and goals for this year. The teacher most likely will be aware of your child’s plan, but indicating to the him or her that you want to work together as a team can go a long way to ensure a positive year.
If Possible, Do A Physical Walk-Through Of Your Child’s School/Class Locations
Secondly, sometimes children can be anxious starting a new school, or even just changing classrooms and teachers. Take a walk through the school and locate the classroom, bathrooms, office, gym, and auditorium. If the classroom is open, look over the desk arrangement and organization of the room itself. If your child has to travel from class to class, walk through his/her schedule with him/her.
Organize At Home With A “DropZone,” A Checklist Board, And Supplies
Organizing at home can ensure a relatively smooth transition to and from school.
- An area by the door where your child goes to and comes from school can be equipped with open cubbies, baskets, and or hooks. This is a great place for backpacks to be unpacked, books, homework, notes, lunches, and keys to be sorted. When homework is removed from the backpack, then it is visible as a reminder for your child to do it. If it in a basket labeled “homework”, then your child can take the basket to the place where homework is done, and begin to work. As a parent, you have the opportunity to see whether your child is completing the homework by monitoring the basket, whether the work has been done, and whether it is taken to school.
- A white, cork, or chalkboard can be used with a checklist of the tasks and reminders to help children.
- Also, make sure that there are enough school supplies on hand. The time before school starts is a great opportunity to stock up, since many stores have specials and sales of the items used for school.
It’s Not Too Late; Start Now
Planning ahead and preparing for the start of school can be a positive experience, and parents are instrumental in the process. Taking a few steps will ease the transition for your child and create the good start that everyone desires.