The season is upon us! Time to swap summertime freedom with school-year schedules. This change can be overwhelming for all children. There are many things to consider: new classrooms, new teachers, new bedtimes, new supplies, etc. Fear not, We Rockers! We’ve got some tips on how to start preparing yourself and your children for all the changes that come along with a new school year.
Here are 5 ways that you can start practicing, priming, and preparing your primary student to head back to school with ease:
Visit the School
If you are able to enter the building during summer hours, give your child a tour of the new space. It will help relieve anxiety on the first day. This strategy of previewing activities and new environments is called. Hopefully, you’ll have an idea of what their daily schedule looks like a few weeks before. If so, show them the classrooms they will be in and the best route to them. The more familiar they are with the lay of the land, the smoother the first few weeks will go.
If the building is not open, it is still beneficial to show them around the schoolyard. Let them check out the school playground and show them how to use the equipment safely. Check out the equipment that we feature and see if you can find similar structures so that they are boosting their sensory development during recess!
We also encourage you to arrange a meeting with your child’s new teacher before the first day. That way they will walk in to find a familiar face. It also gives you an opportunity to speak to the teacher about any specific needs that they should be aware of.
Introduce New Routines
A few weeks or days prior, start enforcing school day and night routines. It may take a bit for your child to adjust to a new regime:
- New Morning and Bedtime Routines
- Earlier bedtimes will take a few days to get used to, but it is good practice to enforce the new bed and wake-up times sooner than later. It will ease the anxiety and stress of the first day.
- Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures
- If you are planning on taking your child to school in the mornings, familiarize them with the commute when you go visit the school. If they will be riding the school bus, show them exactly where they will be picked up and dropped off. You can also arrange to meet with the bus driver so that you can go over the rules of the bus together.
Another good practice you can add to the routine is to have a calendar countdown. Cross off the days leading up to the first day together, so they have a visual representation of how many days they have left.
Have an Energy Release Plan
Your child will be sitting still for longer than they have in quite a while after summer break. All that pent-up energy will need to go somewhere! Enroll them in some kind of after-school activity like swim lessons, gymnastics, or head to your closest We Rock for some physical activity.
Prep Them for the Unexpected
To go along with priming your child for a new environment, you should also prime them for potential situations that you may foresee being an obstacle. Introduce a social story to have your child visualize a situation before it potentially happens.
For example, say your child has misplaced their favorite sensory toy during recess, and now they are back in the classroom. Walk them through the steps of how they should react and the best way to find a solution without panicking. Have them write down the description of an event or walk through it for them visually.
Have School Supplies Ready
School supply lists can be long and overwhelming. The first day back is full of new information. The less time children have to worry about where their supplies are, the more time they’ll have to process other new information. Go over what each supply does, how to use it, when to use it, and where to find it. A great way to help organize them is by color-coding. Look at your child’s class schedule and color code their supplies by class for better organization. Don’t forget to pack their favorite sensory toy for an additional level of comfort!
School Supplies that ROCK
Want to rep some We Rock?! We’ve got awesome supplies to help you get through the school day in style.
Here are a few other sensory safe supplies and products that we suggest:
Pencil Toppers: These fun pencil toppers come in a variety of patterns and are made specifically to help with focus during school. It is a safe, chewable topper that doubles as a fidget tool.
Pencil Grip: The Pencil Grip is designed to be a comfortable surface that enforces good writing habits.
Reggie Regulation Ruler: This is a ruler, fidget toy, and mood regulator all in one! The Reggie Regulation ruler is a 12” ruler that helps kids self-regulate and prompts them to let you know how they are feeling. Apart from serving as an actual ruler, it helps regulate mood and improves focus.
Squiggle Wiggle Writer: These battery-operated and vibrating pens provide sensory stimulation and help improve focus. They come in 5 different colors.
Noise Reduction Headphones: This popular sensory relief tool is a great product to keep on hand. They can block out distractions and keep kids calm.
Desktop Study Carrel: If your child gets distracted easily, this study carrel will work wonders! It is a simple solution to creating a personal workspace that visually blocks out distractions.
Fidget Backpack: This fidget backpack is a great organizational tool for kids who might be prone to misplacing sensory toys. It doubles as a backpack to keep school supplies in and also has sensory activities on the exterior.
Check out this list for more ideas of sensory-friendly supplies for your child!