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January 13, 2022

How to prepare for transitioning back to school.

Breaks for summer, winter, spring, and even weekends and holidays are a vital part of our life and work cycles. But what happens when we need to get back into our daily routines? How might we achieve the transition with compassion and care? One way to approach the return to work life is to recall how you made the transition to the break. What excitement and anticipation did you experience or encourage? Look for ways to create that same anticipation for your return to school and work.

Start by creating a transition schedule that begins about a week before the first day back. Think about your child’s daily routine before the break. Her routine included snack time, independent work/play time, playground time, lunch time, nap time, playground time again, etc. Gently return your daily schedule to your pre-break timing. Start by scheduling snacks and meals, then add in play time, outside time, wake up and bed times. Adjusting mealtimes is a simple way to ease into the transition while providing structure. Incorporating other activities will be easier once mealtimes are established as anchor points throughout the day.

Ask your child to help locate all necessary items for returning to school – clothes/uniform parts, water bottle, snack bag, etc.. How does your child prepare for school the night before? Check to see if everything is in condition for use – wash, check labels, choose snacks. Invite students to actively participate in preparations, which helps create excitement and ownership. For example, take a special trip to the grocery store to pick snacks. When choosing fruits, invite students to help clean and package them into individual containers. This not only provides opportunities for practising life skills, it also fosters independence, responsibility, a sense of order, and lays groundwork for understanding good nutrition and healthful eating habits. Break down each task that needs to be accomplished in preparation for going back to school. Invite your child to help with each step. Involving him or her in these seemingly small tasks helps to develop your student’s sense of order which provides a sense of stability and comfort.

Two or three days before school resumes, start conversations about specific activities to look forward to back at school. “Will the metal insets still be there?” “Who will we get to see?” Take a trip over to school. Look at the building, drive through the parking lot, and make time to play on the playground (if your school allows). On the way home, talk about the things we’ll need to remember to bring when we start back at school. This conversation provides mental preparation for the physical work of collecting supplies at home.

Once all the necessary preparations are made, consider making plans for special one-on-one time during the first week back. Plan a special dinner or a trip to a favorite park. These activities help provide more reasons to look forward to a return to routine while maintaining the foundation of love and support that children relish.

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