- Contact your child’s school to find out any information you can about their new class. It can be helpful to let your child know their new teachers name, what room they will be in and some of their peers that they will know in their classroom. For some children it may be beneficial to create a picture book illustrating what their new classroom and teacher will look like or to create a social story about the start of school. For information on how to write social stories please visit the Gray Center online at http://www.thegraycenter.org
- If possible take a visit to your child’s new school with them. Many schools offer designated days to meet the teacher and preview your child’s new classroom and other areas of the school they will be using (music room, lunch room, library etc). If you are making a social story for your child take this time to snap a few pictures.
- Create a schedule (visual or written depending on the child’s level of development) for your child to outline what the day will look like for him/her. You can use the school visit with your child’s teacher to get an idea of what their day will be like. You may want to have separate schedules for the morning and night routine at home and one for the school day.
- Involve your children in buying new school supplies. Many supplies can reflect your child’s interest (themed note books, backpacks, shoes etc) and help get your child excited to go to school and use their new materials. As back to school shopping can be hectic, early in the summer is the best time to tackle this task.
- Establish a consistent and predictable home routine to ensure there is time in your child’s day to be active, to reflect and share with an adult, eat a nutritious meal, as well as get a good night’s sleep. These routines should be in place well before the first day of school.
- Speak with your child’s teacher to set up a school-to-home feedback system (often a notebook in your child’s backpack works well) if one is note already in place. This can be used to facilitate regular feedback from your child’s teacher on how their day/week is going. Getting regular feedback (even a weekly note) means that you are better able to support your child if concerns do arise. It is also a good way for you to keep on top of areas of strength and accomplishments.
- For younger children who are nervous about being at school, you can have them take a small item to keep in their pocket to remind them that their parent is thinking about them. This should be something quite small as to not be distracting to the child.
The start of the school year marks a significant time of transition and can be tough for many children. The end of summer makes way for the faster paced and more structured school environment and for many kids this can mean a new classroom, teacher, and a different group of peers. Here are a few tips to help your child smoothly transition back to school.