It’s hard to believe that it’s already that time of year again to get your child back into their school routine. Many children can often feel anxious about returning to school, even under typical circumstances, however, it has been especially difficult the past year with all of the changes, and new protocols. For parents and students alike, the transition back into a more typical school routine after extended periods at home may be unsettling as well as adjusting to many new protocols put into place to ensure health and safety guidelines are met.
Taking some time to focus on preparing for the first day of school will help your child be more adjusted to the new routine and any upcoming school changes. Practicing over the next few weeks prior to the first day back, will help to get your child prepared to switch from summer mode to school mode. Having an open dialogue about their new schedule, whether they have been in school already, or are just beginning, is the first step in making a smooth transition.
Giving your child a safe space to discuss what will be their new normal schedule in the fall is most important.
Entering into another year, with COVID guidelines, it will be especially important to prepare your child so they feel the most confident and safe in their new settings.
Tips for Adjusting to a New Routine for the Start of School
Below are some helpful tips to help you and your child feel most confident when returning to school.
- Start the school year routine early. A few weeks before, get your child ready for their new schedule. Every week try to start bedtime earlier and wake up a little earlier to establish a good bedtime which will then lead into a smooth wake up call.
- Keep open communication about school. Reassure your child they are safe and secure where they are going to be. Instill confidence and get them excited! Find out any COVID guidelines that the school is having in the weeks before and discuss the changes to make sure your child feels comfortable with them prior to the big day.
- Visit the school if possible or reconnect with classmates that they might not have seen over the summer. Seeing a familiar face prior to arriving back to school can help take some worries and concerns off the child returning after a long break.
- Make the most of the remaining days. Don’t make returning to school the main focus. Try to soak in the remaining days of summer fun and continue to make memories as a family. Taking full advantage of the summer days will help keep you and your child in a positive mindset for the upcoming days ahead.
- Get ready together! Make school shopping fun and get your child to be a part of it so they feel that they are in control. Having your child help pick out the school supplies will excite them about using them in the near future.
- Establish quiet time throughout the day to prepare for a designated time for homework. Get your child used to setting time apart from play during the day to focus on his or her work to get ready for once the child has homework to do.
- Be flexible and understanding! Try to enjoy this time with your child despite all of the outside factors. This is a challenging time for all parents and children, especially during the new COVID guidelines. Breathe and know everything will be okay!
- Gather your support group. Inform your closest family members of how you want your child’s school year to go and anything specific with the routine. Your child will know who to reach out to and talk with if they are having any concerns, and they will feel more comfortable opening up to others.
Staying Positive for a New School Year
Most importantly, as we embark on a brand new school year and prepare to return to in-person school, don’t forget to enjoy and have fun! There will be moments of anxiety, for both children and parents, but it’s a process. Remaining positive and setting realistic expectations will be key to a successful school year. School time is the best time for children, with open communication, preparation, and understanding of their new school routine, the return to school can be a fun and exciting time with so many things to look forward to and enjoy. As a parent, watching your child interact and grow will ease your worries, to ensure a smooth transition for you as well.
For more resources and parental support, contact our occupational therapists at Niagara Therapy, LLC.