With heading back to school in less than three weeks I felt it was important to include a post about supporting the transition. A whole day course or more could be dedicated to this topic as some children need more support than others with transitions, and added to the mix of going back to school with covid restrictions depending on where you live. Giving your child the time to adjust and know what to expect usually aligns with readiness and ability to adapt and cope as they return back. Here are four ways to support the transition:
1. Starting to Adjust Back to Routine in Small Increments
For some families this may be progressively having your child(ren) going to bed a few minutes earlier each night depending how late their bedtime has become. For other families this may be waking up earlier each day in small increments so the body has time to adjust to the new wake and sleep times. Other things to consider: meal times that correspond with school times, getting used to reading or doing some form of academic work for part of the day, and being more around other children.
2. Readiness in Terms of School Supplies
Starting to shift gears in the mind and being able to visualize a transition helps when we have things that correspond with this transition. For example picking out the outfit they will wear on the first day of school, and other school items (indoor shoes, lunch bag, back pack, mask, hand sanitizer). Even supporting them in drawing or writing about their ideal first day back to school.
3. Adapting to Being More Around Others
For some this may apply more to your child(ren) than others. Being out more around other children within covid guidelines, for example being at a park. Supporting your child(ren) safely join in with other child(ren), initiating play and other important social skills. With the pandemic a lot of child(ren) are impacted socially so finding ways for them to readapt to being around other children and engaging.
4. Providing a Safe Space for Questions and Discussion
Giving space for your child(ren)'s questions about returning to school, what it may be like, when do they have to wear masks, and letting them know any relevant information from the school that is child appropriate. Also giving them space to share about any of the feelings they are having, and supporting them in figuring out ways they can cope with these feelings in the moment and if they arise when they are at school.
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I have been working with parents for over 10 years. I have learned a great deal from them as well as from parenting my own children. It has taught me that parenting is the most trying job there is, requires the support of a village, and with the right supports can be truly rewarding.