By Erica Sweeney
Special to GUIDON
As the end of summer draws closer, it’s time to start preparing yourself and your student for school. Routine sleep and mealtime schedules are a great way to help your child gradually adjust or become comfortable with the changes before school is back in session. During the summer, your child may have had a later bedtime or slept in the next morning; and those sudden changes from a leisure schedule to a more fixed schedule can be difficult and may take some time for children to adjust. Here are some additional tips to consider over the next few weeks:
Organize your paperwork for the school year. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your child’s Individual Education Plan. Ensure that it is up-to-date and still suitable for your child.
If possible, try to set some time to meet your child’s teachers and staff to familiarize your child with them and express any needs or goals for the upcoming year.
Create an “All About Me” sheet for your child to include his/her photo, name, likes, dislikes, strengths, and the best ways to support that assists teachers and staff that will be working with your child.
Incorporating visual aids and schedules may also be a great way to support your child while they are getting to know their new surroundings.
Before school begins, make sure you and your student are exploring new clothing and backpack materials to make sure they will be as comfortable as possible throughout their day.
Have your child prepare their school materials and get everything ready for the first day of school by placing their prepared backpack by the door.
Practice the routine of going to bed earlier, getting up, eating breakfast, riding the bus, and going to school so it becomes part of their normal routine instead of a surprise.
Lastly, talk to your child about rules and expectations for the upcoming school year. Get them exposed to social settings and prepare them for changes in their daily routines. Get them excited for all the new activities, friends, and classes they will be encountering. Take advantage of back-to-school nights and other events that will help support their transition from summer into the school year.
If you have any questions, need suggestions or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your Army Community Service Exceptional Family Member Program in building 486 or 573.596.0212.
(Editor’s note: Sweeney is an Exceptional Family Member Program navigator.)