8 Tips To Make Back-To-School Transition Easy

By AASLOctober 14, 2018

8 Tips To Make Back-To-School Transition Easy From our Occupational Therapists.

Back-to-School time is an exciting and highly anticipated return for many students; however, it can also be an over-stimulating and overwhelming experience. Here are a few strategies and suggestions to continue to ease the transition back-to-school for your child and family:

1) Make sure your child is well-prepared for what to expect. Back-to-school brings many new events and enrollment in activities. Prior to day-of participation, it may be helpful to visit the location ahead of time so that your child can familiarize himself or herself with the environment, whether it be a club, after-school activity, school dance, etc. Take pictures if you can! Creating an individualized social story about what is expected during participation in these activities is a great way to prepare your child for these events and have a successful transition. Choose or create stories that highlight all the fun and exciting aspects of the new club/group/event that your child will get to experience during the upcoming year! This review ahead of time can help reduce your child’s anxiety surrounding upcoming events because he or she will already have a preview of what to expect!

2) Establish a bedtime and morning routine. Summer days and vacation time often bring a change of schedule and many late nights. Now that school is underway, continue to establish a healthy schedule for bedtime and morning wake-ups. Help your child get back into the swing of weekday school routines by setting up an appropriate sleep and wake schedule. If you still find your child has been staying up past ideal times, re-adjust those sleep-wake cycles by getting to bed and waking up 10-15 minutes earlier per day until they are into a healthy hourly range. It is essential that children receive the recommended amount of sleep each night in order to promote energy and attention levels needed for optimal functioning in the classroom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017) provide the following recommendations:

3) Facilitate structure and predictable schedules. Creating a family calendar, setting up a routine and set of rules for after-school, and establishing personal and family organizational systems will help not only your child, but your entire family transition into back to school roles with ease. Regular routines, familiarity, and boundaries are all essential in helping children anticipate and understand what is expected from them at various times throughout the day. Creating a visual schedule for your child’s daily routine is a great way to solidify understanding and promote independence, and to facilitate smooth transitions throughout the day. For more information on use of visual supports and visual schedules, visit autismspeaks.org

4) Prep for school the night before. Have your child help you pick out their outfit for the next day and pack their lunch box and backpack the night before. This will not only help those hectic mornings run more smoothly, but will also promote time management, organizational skills, a sense of responsibility, and independence in self-care.

5) Implement a positive reinforcement system. Using a reward or token system is a great way to encourage your child to participate actively in his or her day-to-day routines. Positive reinforcement may particularly come in handy in resuming routines surrounding homework completion. For example, “each night we complete our homework on-time and initiate our work independently, we earn a star on our chart; at the end of the week if we have 5 stars, we have a family movie night with popcorn!” For more tips on setting up good homework habits as we get back into the swing of the school year, check out our “Homework Tips”

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