Fidget activities that help kids learn (and don't distract in the classroom)!

Back-to-school tips: What you can do now to prepare your child for school in-person

Yes, it’s still summer. Thank goodness! But school will be here before we know it. Last year was an unusual school year for most students, and your child may need more time to adjust as in-person learning resumes. After all, they have been home with Mom and Dad for a very long time. Here’s what you can do now to prepare your child for school. Read on for back-to-school tips!

If you have a new student, such as a kindergartener or homeschooled child going to in-person school for the first time, get your hands on some books about going to school. Scholastic has some great ideas to get you started. Reading about the school experience can ease anxiety and help kids work through possible scenarios they may encounter.

Problem-solve ahead of time. Maybe your child is concerned about lunchtime, and where to sit. Or where the bathroom is, or what may be expected of her in the classroom. Your child may not even know what he’s concerned about yet! Talk through possible situations with your child, such as what might happen if they can’t find a game to join at recess or if they feel homesick during the day. Role play these scenarios with your child.

Make sure your child has the self-help skills needed to start school. What do I mean by this? Practice hand washing, going to the restroom, buttoning pants or undoing a belt. I can clearly remember a meltdown my son had in kindergarten when I inadvertently sent him to school wearing a belt he didn’t know how to undo. Practice opening juice boxes, unzipping a lunch box, etc.

Establish a morning routine well before the start of school. I know that right now, it’s super nice to sleep in, not sweat the small stuff, and not look at the clock. But back-to-school will be here before you know it! Honestly, back-to-school tips start and end with a solid, smooth morning routine that sets the mood for the day ahead. Give yourself plenty of time on a school morning, building in transition time for your child. Create a chart or diagram to help him remember the steps in the morning routine, which will probably include: wake up, quiet time, breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, organizing the backpack, and getting out the door. Remember that kids with ADHD or autism may need longer transitions with more prompts and warnings before the next thing.

Go shopping for clothes and lunch items. Not only will this activity help your child transition to the fall, it will help her visualize her school day. Give her control, within reason, of her back-to-school clothing and food choices. Let her get excited about her special snacks and school supplies.

Prepare for separation anxiety and homesickness. Talk to your child often about the drop-off moment, and exactly when and where you will pick him back up after school. Send him to school with a note in his pocket that simply says ‘I love you’ or ‘You can do this!’, or, if your child is not yet a reader, a simple heart or smiley face will go a long way. You can alternatively send your child with a family photo in her backpack or pocket!

Do you have back-to-school tips to share? Comment below!

Back-to-school tips to help prepare kids for in-person learning this fall.

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