By Sarah Anderson, OTR/L
Transitioning back to school after summer break can be a stressful time for parents and children. Summer is a nice time to change the schedule and have less routine, but that can also cause difficulties as you transition back to a scheduled routine during the school year. Remember that most children like routine and perform better in school when they have a predictable schedule, especially during the school week. Young children especially need a predictable schedule because they do not fully understand the concept of time.
Here are a few tips that can help as you begin the transition back to school.
Start to shift bedtime by 10 minutes earlier each night in order to get back to your preferred school-night bedtime. This should only take a week or two at most. (It is easy to stay up late on non-school days but research suggestions it is better to go to bed and get up around the same time, or at least within a hour of you or your child’s typical bedtime)
Set up and evening routine/bedtime routine that stays the same on school nights. Allow for quiet reading time to ease into sleep. (Research suggests to refrain from screen time up to an 1 hour before going to sleep)
Set up a designated spot in the house where backpacks stay at the end of the school day and then practice taking with you to the store or shopping and then put in those spots when you come home to get into a routine.
Set up an important “school papers” bin or basket to use throughout the school year.
Try not to schedule too many after school activities at the beginning of the school year. Allow for outside free play after school and adjustment to the school routine before adding too many activities.
Have a “save” box in a closet for the artwork or special assignments you want to save. (Parents can also go thru at a later date and throw out as needed)
Here are a couple articles that offer some great ideas as the transition back to school begins.