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  • Writer's pictureAlley Dezenhouse Kelner

Tips for transitioning back to school

While going from summer-mode to fall-mode is never easy, this year it could be especially challenging. Back to school might look a little different this year, so here are some practical ways you can start preparing right now!

Social stories or themed books.

Themed books

Depending on your kiddo's needs and interest you may find that back to school books help refresh their memory about getting back to the books. Since technology can be so captivating, you can likely capture their attention with a story on video from Youtube or Storyline Online.

Here's a great story (online) for kids who have separation anxiety around back to school:

Social stories

Can be written with the child, or for the child (it can be a "do together" or a "do for" task). A social story includes the child as the main character and paints a picture (with words and sometimes images) about what to expect in a particular situation. You would personalize the story with your child's name, school name, teacher name, and anything else that will help prepare your child. Social stories work best when combined with behaviour skill training meaning you'll want to read the story together and take actionable steps to build up the skills needed for success.

For example, if going to school will include wearing a mask that will be an important detail in your social story and will require you to practice "mask wearing" as a skill before the first day. Likewise, if going to school will require your child to wear a uniform, you'll want to practice this skill before the big day.

Social stories are best when they are kept short, and specific.

2. Get those routines back on track now.

It may still be the lazy days of summer but your transition will be much smoother if you start adjusting wake times and bedtimes before it's go time! Practice getting up, getting dressed and even packing a bag; the more practice now, the more independent (or at least cooperative) you child will be later.

3. Exposure to new items.

Change can be tough for kids who thrive on routine; going from lazy summer to back to school is already a big change so set your kiddo up for success by exposing them to other (even small or routine by your standards) changes now. If you bought a new lunch bag, water bottle, backpack, mask, bottle of hand sanitizer or otherwise introduce now while things are relatively calm and routine; expecting your kiddo to adapt to too many new things at once is a recipe for overwhelm!

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