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A Pediatric Perspective

Back to School Routines

Published August 27, 2013 3:10 PM by Wendy Spoor-Hof

I, for one, do not know where this summer has gone.  I don't know if it seemed to fly by because we had so much going on each weekend or if it was actually shorter due to the number of snow days we had to make up for this year.  Whatever the reason there is only a little over a week left before the kids return back to school.  I know for many parents this can be a difficult time as it means getting their children back to school time routines.  There are a few things we can do to try and make the transition from summer to school a little easier.

  • Start the "early to bed, early to rise" school schedule the week before school actually starts. This will allow everyone in the family to get into a routine that will become easier as the actual first day of school approaches. If it is too difficult to get them to bed early and up the next morning early do it in small time increments. Start with 15 minutes earlier and every other day move it up 15 minutes until you are going to bed and getting up the next morning at the times you need to be.
  • Discuss what items need to be in their backpacks and get them ready. Decide what outfit is going to be the "first day back" outfit. Don't forget to make sure you include socks and shoes. I know my son has several pairs of sneakers and it can take him quite a while to decide which ones match better. J If the clothes are new have them try them on and wear them for a couple hours to make sure they "feel right". They may look great but once they are worn may feel uncomfortable and this can be distracting at school. This is especially important for children with sensory concerns.
  • If possible walk to the bus stop at the time you would need to meet the bus. This would be a great time to talk with your child about any concerns or worries they may have about going to school. They can also share what they are looking forward to. If they are driven to school you might want to do a couple dry runs to the school just to get use to how long it may take (both getting to the school and getting your child from the house into the car. Some days for us the house-to-the-car time takes longer than the drive to the school.)
  • Talk to your child about what they may expect that first day. Will their teachers greet them as they get off the bus and walk with them to their classrooms? If not, do they know where their classroom/homeroom is? Will they be bringing their lunch or buying lunch? Ask them if they have any questions about their first day back and if it something you can't answer for them contact the school and try and get an answer. Most schools have their front office open for limited hours the week prior to school starting. Call and get answers to any concerns your child has before school starts.

Just like anything "new" the first few weeks of school can be a tiring and trying one for both the student and their parents.  Know that many children will do everything they can to "keep it together" while they are in school and then the minute they step through the door "it" is released and you find yourself with a child that is talking non-stop or running around in circles trying to release all the energy they've accumulated during the school day.  Allow them some extra time outside or, if time permits, go to the park/playground or go for a walk to help them get rid of this energy.  Trust me, not much homework will get done until their body is able to relax a little and their mind is able to focus.  Allowing them extra time when they get home to burn off the worries and energy that have built up will only benefit the both of you.

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

 - Benjamin Franklin

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