Back to School Tips

Schoolv.3-01The new school year is fast-approaching as summer vacation is coming to an end. The changeover from summer vacation to the classroom can be challenging for any child especially as they experience new routines, faces, and locations. Here are some helpful tips that may help with the transition:

Prepare for any new routines with a simple reinforcement system in the weeks before school begins. If the first challenge is getting out of bed, that would be a great place to start with the reinforcement. Using reminders such as, "First we get up, then we get ___" can be helpful in stating clear expectations and reminding your child of what they can do once they are up. Also, using a visual or written schedule of morning tasks with fun and reinforcement embedded throughout can be a great way to increase motivation! Don't forget that reinforcement must be something that is preferred and motivating for the child. 

Familiarize your child with possible new faces and surroundings. If your child is starting a new school or classroom, try and schedule a tour to visit the location ahead of time. If you can, try and schedule a time to introduce your child to any new teachers or school administrative staff to start building a rapport that may make starting the school year a little easier. You can also help your child learn new faces by creating a photo album of their new teachers, aides, administrative staff, and even new friends! 

Prepare the night before. If the morning routine is challenging, do as much as you can before bed, and be sure to have your child help you (it's great for the practice of the targeted skills, as well as independence). Pick out clothes, make lunches, pack backpacks, and rehearse the morning routine, so everyone is well-prepared come 7am. If your child has afternoon sessions, this would be a great time to practice these skills with you and your instructor there to support!

Start a friend file! Once your child has met some of the new children in class or on the playground, starting a "friend file" could prove very beneficial to remembering their peers' names, favorite games/sports/food, and those things which they dislike. Having this information ready for review prior to a play date, birthday party, or outing can allow for you and your child to practice conversations related to common interests (and avoid those topics that are less preferred).

Have fun! All too often during the school year, we get caught up in the daily routine, special events, and attending different activities and appointments. Making time for you and your child to go to a favorite store, movie, or restaurant is a great way to keep the fun going throughout the week and the school year.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for more back to school projects and tips.

From all of us at FirstSteps, we wish you a wonderful school year full of learning and fun!

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