Recommendations to Prepare Your Child for School

It’s mid-August, and believe it or not, soon your child will be transitioning back to school! The following ideas m toight be able ease the transition. Many of the suggestions are adapted from Robin Allen, PhD., a behavior specialist and parent educator in Montgomery County, Maryland.

1. Have children go to bed the time they will be going to bed when school is in session.

2. Have them wake up earlier in the mornings so their bodies can begin to adjust to the time they will have to get up for school.

3. Have them begin to take baths and showers daily, as some children get out of the habit during the summer when they are in the pool every day.

4. Have them begin to follow visual schedules again if they stopped during the summer. Make all adjustments to your school schedules now so they can begin to get used to the “new” routines.

5. Establish what chores the children will be doing (and when) for the upcoming school year. It is important that children do chores as part of learning responsibility.

6. Establish when/where the children will be doing homework; for some children, they will be having more homework this year than last year.

7. Establish a quiet location for children to do their homework. Ensure that they have a supply box handy.

8. Establish (with the child and the school) how they will track their homework assignments. Remember, it is the child’s responsibility to know what assignments are due at school, not yours!

9. Use visual cues and timers so your child has a better chance of succeeding with expectations.

10. Screen Time (computers, laptops, I-Pads, I-Pods, Phones, TV, DVDs, Nintendo DS, Video games, etc.): Many kids get used to a lot of screen time during the summer. Now that school is beginning, it is important for you to establish guidelines for the use of screens during the school year. I recommend that the child does not have screen time until schedules are completed. Research suggests that 1.0 to 2.0 hours of screens (including phones) per weekday is appropriate for school-age kids in elementary school and middle school; 2.0 to 3.0 hours per weekday for kids in high school.

Some children may require special measures to implement guidelines for screen time, including the use of a password that only you have access to. In some cases screens have to be “parked” in a place that can be supervised by the parents and away from the child, or even locked up until the child’s is allowed to use the device.

11. Arrange any “before-school-starts” meetings with school staff to make preparations for your child. If your child will be attending a new school, make arrangements for that transition (including using photo books of the new school and staff, driving the child to the location of the school, using social stories about the new school, sending strategies to the new school team, etc. Many schools will be happy to do anything to make the transition go more smoothly).

–Posted by Jonah Green

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