It’s time to get ready for school! You’ve bought everything on the long list of supplies and you’ve got the new clothes ready to go. You’ve picked the perfect bookbag and you’re counting the days.
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your child for the transition back to school days. Here’s what we suggest:
Stuff you can do
Start Minimizing Electronics
Since your child will not have much access to electronics at school, it can cause a difficult transition when going back to school. Set scheduled times for electronic use at home.
Add some “school work” to your at home schedule
Begin a 30-45 minute block of “work time” during the afternoon for reading, math, and/or science. This will help with attention and also help with adjustment to homework.
Do not let your children watch tv, be on social media, or the phone while doing homework or studying. Set rules for when and where homework and studying need to be done, and when is time for electronics The less electronics, the better, especially on school nights.
Write a story
Write a social story about your child’s new school schedule to help things go smoother. Use pictures! Tell the story about what will happen each day, such as riding on the bus and going to the cafeteria. Include your child’s name! You should read the story with your child daily for the days or weeks leading up to the first day of school. You can also read it for the first few weeks of school as your child is adjusting to the new classroom.
Check and Review
For children that come into school with an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, make sure you look over the goals before school. Make sure that they are still appropriate for your child. Sometimes IEPs are made many months prior to the start of the school year. Many children make developmental jumps during that time so they may have surpassed their goals. Some children may have regressed over the summer and may need to relearn skills that were previously mastered. If you feel changes need to be made to the IEP, contact your child’s teacher or SLP to schedule an IEP review.
Select Goals for Home
Your child’s speech therapist will only be working with your child for a certain number of hours each week depending on his or her IEP. It will significantly help your child’s progress if you are able to select one or more of the IEP goals to work on at home. Speak with your child’s speech therapist to see which goals he or she is targeting in therapy and ask how you can help your child practice those skills at home.
If your child receives private speech therapy in addition to school-based speech therapy, it is important that you ask the therapists to collaborate. Contact between the private speech therapist and the school-based therapist will require that the parent give permission for both therapists to speak with each other. Collaboration between parents, your child’s school-based team and private therapists will help your child make progress faster and will allow all people involved in your child’s program (including parents) to brainstorm and problem solve together to help your child succeed.
Reading at home is invaluable to a child’s academic development.
Consider working on a journal together with your child. There are no rules to a child’s journal, but it provides a great outlet for emotions that are hard to express. We kept a family journal in my house growing up and all family members participated. Being open with our feelings helped my family work together and not apart. It can also decrease anxiety in your child.
Stuff you should know
It is not uncommon for a child who has stuttered in the past to begin stuttering once they return to school. This will probably all resolve in a matter of weeks, once the newness of back to school wears off.
Third grade is one of the most challenging transitions for your child. It’s the time your child transitions from learning to read to reading to learn. This a difficult transition for many children, not only those with speech and language disorders.
Expect that your child (even your high schoolers) will fall asleep in the most unexpected places in the first few weeks. The transition from summer to school is quite large. Students go from following rules/instructions for the household to now almost seven hours of school rules.
Your child might not be the best behaved at home for a few weeks. It can be shocking to see some new “sassy” behaviors in your child when they go back to school. You may even want to blame it on the school, but many times it is because your child is using so much energy to concentrate on school that they are exhausted once they get home. This will resolve in a matter of weeks once the routine of school becomes more familiar.
Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If possible, it’s especially beneficial for parents to be home at the end of the school day for the first week. But many working moms and dads don’t have that flexibility. Instead, try to arrange your evenings so you can give kids as much time as they need, especially during those first few days.
Questions? Give your speech language therapist a call or send us a message through our online contact form.