WITH EVERYONE FEELING refreshed after the summer break, the focus shifts to getting ready for a new school year for your tot. Family visits, celebrations, and trips can throw out everyone’s routines. Or, you may have loosened things up to give everyone a break and let rules and timeframes slip a little.
But getting back to school means that everyone needs to get their heads around adjustment. Your child has enjoyed lots of one-on-one time with you, so you could expect a little emotional wobble or separation anxiety. Or, their sleep schedule could have gone out the window, and you’re dreading the mad morning rush trying to get them ready for school or daycare on time. So, as a parent, what can you do to get back on track?
SET UP A SCHEDULE
“Creating a daily or weekly schedule can be very helpful for everyone to see what the day or week ahead looks like,” says Debbie Mobbs, a pediatric occupational therapist with a special interest in early intervention and neurological conditions. “Children function better when they are prepared and know what to expect from their day, so talking to them about their schedule can be helpful and reduce anxiety.”
You can create a chart or write it up on a whiteboard so that the whole family can see it. Involve your kids and get them to draw pictures or cut out images from magazines to add to the chart, so they have a visual reference they can refer to. For example, a picture of them swimming to illustrate the day they have a lesson, or a drawing of them playing with friends to show the days they will have aftercare.
In the week before school starts, it may include drawings of playtime, but also prep for school, such as buying a new pair of school shoes.
MAKE A GAME OF IT
Role-playing a typical school day can be a fun way for children to get their minds around the things they might be doing when the first school day clocks around, Debbie suggests.
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