Preparing for school after the holidays

15 December 2016 – For some children, the transition back to school at the end of the holidays can be stressful. Here are some tips to help minimize this stress.  Throughout the holidays, give your child practice homework (just a little) to keep them in the habit of reading and writing. Then five days before school goes back, start a countdown calendar.  Plan an activity each day such as:

Share a Back to School social story with your child, with photos of school and classroom, the teacher and classmates if possible. Prepare your child if they are moving to a new room or have a new teacher.

  1. Try on and wear any new school clothes (including togs and sunhats) and remove any irritating labels.  Reacquaint your child with sunscreen if they have spent the summer inside.
  2. Check that school shoes/sandals still fit and practice putting them on and off.
  3. Clean out the pencil case and fill with sharpened or new pencils and pens. For older students, colour-code books and materials for each course. Make sure the schoolbag still fits and is comfortable.
  4. Plan school lunches and practice eating from the school lunch box.
  5. Get your child back into the school routine of going to bed and getting up at the right time.
  6. Practice using toilets and drinking fountains away from home.
  7. Drive past the school, and practice walking up to the gate or up to the classroom if you have access. Spend time in the playground if allowed.
  8. Give  your child the option of taking a small calming toy or preferred object (preferably one that other children won’t make fun of) to take to school.
  9. Have a quiet day on the last day of the holidays so you are all rested for the new term.
  10. If your child is not looking forward to school, plan an exciting meal or activity for the first afternoon after school so they have something to look forward to.
  11. If your child is anxious, talk to their teacher and share strategies to help with the transition. This is particularly important if your child has a new teacher.

References

This article originally appeared in Altogether Autism Journal Christmas 2014