Transitioning Your Child Back to School

By: Little Light House Therapy Team / Diana Lee

Transitions are hard, especially going back to school.

As summer slowly begins to fade away, and fall’s routine is on the horizon, some parents may wonder how to help their child have a smoother transition back into the school year.

After this long time away from school, our Little Light House Therapy Team has 9 tips to help prepare your kiddo for starting school.

  1. GET BACK INTO THE ROUTINE OF BEDTIME AND WAKING TIME. Start practicing a week in advance of school resuming.
  1. BE POSITIVE AND EXCITED. Your child will pick up on how they should feel based on how YOU feel about going back to school. Share your excitement that your child is returning to school and will learn new things and make new friends 
  1. DRIVE YOUR CHILD BY THE SCHOOL IN ADVANCE, or show them pictures of it so they have a sense of where they will be going, especially if this is your child’s first year.
  1. REVIEW WITH THEM WHAT TO EXPECT. A few days before school starts back up, go through what a school day will look like for them. Talk about their teachers, friends, classes, etc. Use pretend play to explore preschool routines like saying good-bye to mom and dad, sitting in circle time, and sitting at the table to eat lunch.
  1. LET YOUR CHILD PICK out what they want to wear to school, their lunchbox, backpack, etc. New things feel EXCITING! 
  1. LET THEM PICK OUT A SPECIAL OBJECT FROM HOME. It should be something that provides a level of comfort and security, such as a toy, stuffed animal, or picture. It can be a very small, familiar toy that “lives” in their backpack for the first week.
  1. PACK A HEALTHY LUNCH. Include lots of protein, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Your child may be a picky eater at home, but kids will often try new foods at school. The good food will provide your child with the nutrition they need to maintain energy and help with their mental health.
  1. THINK ABOUT CREATING A SPECIAL GOOD-BYE ROUTINE, such as a song, a rhyme, or hand signs. This helps prepare your child for the transition of leaving the car and entering school.
  1. READ A SOCIAL STORY TO YOUR CHILD. Social stories are a great tool to provide your child with information about everyday events they may find difficult or confusing. Children with autism especially benefit from social stories. They help prevent further anxiety within your child, increase his/her understanding of the situation at hand, make him/her more comfortable about the situation, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses.

You can download our back to school social stories in English or Spanish below!

Back to School- English & Spanish

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