10 Tips to prepare your child for going back to school

By Step by Step Consulting

Summer Holidays are going by so fast!! Before we know it, September will be here again and routine will be back.

Moving to a new school, a different classroom or even having a new teacher can be tricky for lots of kids and there are kids who will be a little anxious over the unknown and be unsure of what to expect.

Such difficulties and anxiety can be reduced by taking small steps to prepare for the new year and any changes associated with it. From working with lots of kids and their families, these are some strategies we definitely find helpful and we hope you do too. 

  1. Talk to your child about the upcoming transition. This may seem simple but is possibly the most important step in reducing some of your child’s anxiety.
  2. Find out as much as possible about your child’s upcoming year including holidays, trips and any after school activities. This information will help you create a routine for your child.
  3. If possible, prior to beginning school, take your child to visit the school and teachers. Familiarising your child with the school will allow them to be more comfortable in this environment. You could also take some pictures when you are here and use these at home to prepare your child of the upcoming transition. Examples of pictures that may be useful could be the teacher, the classroom, the yard and any other area that your child will be visiting/exposed to in the school.
  4. Create a countdown, for example, a visual reminder. Crossing days off a calendar creates the visual reminder that school is coming and summer holidays are ending.
  5. Create a morning school routine and practice it the last few days of summer holidays. Begin waking up a little earlier and going through this routine. If your child is a visual learner, you could develop a visual schedule with pictures of the morning routine elements. Alternatively, you could use words or written schedules for your child to complete the routine.
  6. Allow your child to get used to wearing his/ her uniform. Sometimes uniforms can be made of different materials to what your child usually wears. It is a good idea to “break in” these clothes before their first day.
  7. Ask any current tutors or therapists to compile a short report outlining your child’s strengths, areas of difficulty and what strategies they found effective when working with your child.
  8. Write a list with any dietary restrictions, favorite items, and situations that your child may find tricky. This will all be super helpful information for your child’s teacher.
  9. If your child uses an augmentative communication device, ensure all staff in his/ her classroom are familiar with it. Also, ensure it is sent in every day and close to your child at all times.
  10. There are little things that can be done the night before also. Maybe have a look through any pictures of the school or go through the social story if you have made one up. You can also get your child involved in helping to prepare for the next day by putting the uniform out, preparing lunches and preparing his/ her school bag.

Try to relax. Once you have done everything you can to ensure for a smooth transition, there is nothing more that can be done so try and enjoy the last of the summer break.

We hope you find these tips helpful and as always, these are general tips and may need to be tailored to suit your child.