For most kids, summer is a time for play, adventure, and family vacations. But with autumn fast approaching, now’s a great time to stow the boogie boards and start planning for the resumption of school. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition.
Prep for the School Routine
Summer is a time for kids to enjoy the freedom of exploring their world, and for most, the return to school signals a return to a stricter, more disciplined routine. To make the transition less stressful, begin preparing your kids a few weeks in advance. One way is to establish a schedule for basic activities like mealtimes, bathing, bedtime, and chores. Getting your kids accustomed to this schedule now will make the transition to a more structured environment less jarring—both for your children and for you. And when school obligations like homework, sports, and extracurricular activities begin, your family will be in a better position to budget time to accommodate them.
Talk about Feelings
Not all children handle the return to school the same way. Some may have significant fears and anxieties—about new teachers, meeting new students, or changing schools. Take the time to talk with your kids about their feelings. If they’re anxious about returning to school, assure them that many children experience some form of back-to-school jitters, and that it’s okay to have these feelings. You may find it helpful to schedule some play-dates for your children, so they can catch up with classmates before the school year begins. Reconnecting with friends now, before the school year begins, can help ease some of the stress of re-acclimating to the school routine.
Plan Healthy Meals in Advance
During summer, it’s often easy to sacrifice the nutrition of home-cooked meals for tempting options like ice cream and fast food. But now’s the time to start thinking about what your children will be eating during the school day. For example, how are you ensuring that your children will have the energy and nutrition they need to meet the demands of their new schedule? One solution is to plan nutritious breakfasts. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and in many ways determines your child’s ability to remain focused and engaged. By planning breakfasts that include protein, vitamin-rich fruits, and nutritious grains, you can help ensure that your children’s energy levels won’t drop before day’s end. And if you’re packing lunch for your children, avoid sugary snacks that can cause tooth decay, hyperactivity, and sugar “crashes.”
Be Sure Your Children are Current on Required Vaccines
Staying current on required vaccines is a vital way that communities prevent the outbreak and spread of contagious diseases. Check with your child’s school to determine what inoculations or boosters are required to ensure that your family stays up-to-date with mandatory immunizations.
Tips for Children with Special Needs
Children with ADHD
If your child has an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they may experience some additional challenges when returning to the school schedule. Here are a few things you can do to take some of the stress out of the transition.
Talk with your child’s teachers early in the school year (or before) and discuss your child’s specific needs.
Make individualized education a priority. If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), review its details with your child’s teacher and discuss how the IEP will be implemented in the classroom environment.
Talk with your child’s doctor about any ADHD medications your child may be taking (or that you are considering having your child try).
Involve your child in the process. This can mean working together to set up a space for homework, or establishing a schedule that accommodates both school and home obligations.
Discuss your child’s needs with teachers and administrators. An informed school staff can be a great asset to your child’s education. Be sure both teachers and administrators are aware of your child’s specific needs and any IEP they may have in place.
Strive to preserve consistency. Making the transition to an unfamiliar environment can be challenging for kids with ASD. By looking for continuities in your child’s environment you can minimize some of this stress. For example, if you know of a classmate who’ll be advancing with your child, reach out to their parents and try to arrange some social time for your children to get reacquainted before school begins.
Talk with your child about the transition. Transitions are more easily managed when the element of surprise is removed. By reminding your child of the start of the academic year can help your child be more emotionally prepared to handle the shift. Engage with your child about supplies, clothes, and other choices to involve them in the process.
At Key Assets Kentucky, we provide essential care for our clients throughout the life cycle. Our skilled, professional staff is experienced in evaluating and treating children of all ages, including those with special needs. We work closely with clients and families to develop treatment plans that get results. Contact Key Assets Kentucky and learn how we can help.
Key Assets Kentucky, is a behavioral health and child caring company based in Central Kentucky. Through our Key Assets Behavioral Health program and Children in Community Care program, we seek to positively impact the lives of children, young people, their families. We specialize in offering support services via residential treatment group home care for youth with autism and/or developmental disabilities, and behavioral health therapy and case management services for youth, adults and families in times of crisis. Key Assets Kentucky is part of the Key Assets Group, an international group of companies delivering a continuum of services for children, adults and families.