back to school

Tips to Help Your Child Transition Back to School
Tips to Help Your Child Transition Back to School 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Fall is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing… our little ones will be heading back to school! Though it’s been an incredible summer full of fun in the sun, it’s time to help our kiddos get ready to return to the classroom. Whether your child will be attending school in person or virtually this year, it’s crucial that we, as parents, help our kids get prepared for whatever comes their way. Transitioning from relaxation and free time during the summer to daily classroom sessions can be an emotional rollercoaster for both you and your child. Fortunately, we have some excellent tips that you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine that will help them transition back to school with ease.

Get Back Into a Set Bedtime Routine

There are so many activities going on during the summer that can make it hard to stick to a bedtime routine. Now that school will soon be starting, getting back into a set nighttime schedule is so important. A consistent routine before bed allows your child to unwind and relax, and helps make it easier for your child to fall asleep. Consider starting with bathtime, then, allow your child to pick out their pajamas, next have your child brush their teeth and use the bathroom, and end with tucking your child into bed and reading them a story.

Create a Designated Area For Virtual School and Homework

No matter if your child will be attending school virtually or in person this fall, it’s essential to create a space for your child where they can take part in virtual learning and do their homework. Having a set spot where your child can do their schoolwork can help your little one better separate their school activities from their home life. Consider setting up a station where your child can access all of the supplies they’ll need and place an extra chair nearby for yourself if they need any help with their assignments.

Help Your Child Get Comfortable Wearing a Mask

It can be very tricky to get your child to wear a mask, especially if they have to wear that mask throughout the duration of their school day. If you’re having trouble getting your child comfortable with the idea of wearing a mask, here are some things you can do to help your little one adjust:

  • Allow your child to personalize their mask with stickers
  • Try on your masks together as a whole family in front of the mirror
  • Have your child wear their mask for short periods of time around the house and gradually increase the time each day
  • Have your child practice putting their mask on by themself
  • Discuss the importance of wearing a mask with your child and explain to them that a mask can help keep them safe and healthy
  • Reward your child anytime they successfully wear their mask in public or around the house

If you need help introducing your child to wearing a mask or if your child is sensitive about wearing a mask, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our occupational therapists for help.

Transitioning from summer fun to back to school can be challenging, but we hope that these tips can help make the process a whole lot smoother for you and your child. Follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all month long for more tips, resources, and activities. As always, if you find that your child is falling behind in their speech and language development, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to discuss if your little one could benefit from pediatric therapy. We are happy to help support your child and family in any way that we can.

Back to School for Special Needs
Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy Prep for Back-to-School
Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy Prep for Back-to-School 1000 1000 PTN Chicago

Back to school is upon us once again, and this can be both an exciting and stressful time of year for the children we work with – and their parents! Whether your little ones are looking forward to learning new things or feeling anxious about fitting in, there are several things that you can do to help them feel more prepared for the school year to come. Let’s take a look at several simple areas of focus within speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy that you can practice with your child leading up to that first day of school.

Speech Therapy Back to School Prep

Role Playing – If your child is nervous about meeting new children, you can help them feel more at ease by playing a simple role-playing game. Pretend to be another child that they’re meeting for the first time and have a conversation with them. Help your child think of appropriate ice-breakers and things they can talk about comfortably with new friends.

Curiosity Prep – Children have a tendency to ask questions that can come across as rude and hurtful when they are confronted with something they aren’t familiar with – like another child’s speech impediment. Before school begins, it can sometimes be helpful to gently warn your child that they might get questioned about the way that they speak by other children. Then you can work with your child to find simple answers to the questions they might be asked in order to help their new friends understand them better. (This is an area where a speech therapist can offer a lot of helpful advice!)

Occupational Therapy Back to School Prep

School-Specific OT Challenges – Going back to school – or going to school for the first time – can mean being confronted with new occupational challenges. For example, your child probably doesn’t open a lunch box very often at home. Work with your OT to think of the various occupational skills your child might find useful to practice before school begins.

Waiting Games – A lot of school is sitting quietly and waiting for your turn. If your child has trouble sitting still or gets easily distracted, it might be helpful to practice some mental games that can keep your child focused or occupy their mind while they wait in line. For example, your child can quietly try to find objects that are every color of the rainbow.

Physical Therapy Back to School Prep

Classroom Tour – If possible, try to arrange a tour of your child’s classroom before school begins with their new teacher. That way you can identify any areas that might be difficult for your child to maneuver or unsafe for your child for whatever reason. Having some advance warning will allow both your child and their teacher time to adjust. This is also a useful thing to do if your child has physical impairments.

Explore Outdoors – After your classroom tour, why not explore your school’s outdoor areas? You can walk through the halls of the school and then make your way outside. Let your child practice on the school playground or on the stairs leading up to the school entrance over the summer so they are familiar with these areas prior to school starting. It can be fun for them to see what’s waiting for them both inside and out.

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