Summer can be hard for parents, especially for parents with children who have special needs. Finding activities that keep them busy while also being fun and productive can be challenging.
And without a daily routine, kids get used to an unstructured schedule or no schedule at all, which can make it difficult to get them back on track when the new school year approaches.
In our final Back-To-School installment, Theresa Francis, principal at Notre Dame, a local school serving students with developmental disabilities, gives us a few tips on easing your child back into a scheduled routine as they prepare to return to school.
- Use the back to school shopping campaigns to your advantage. With school supply sales popping up all over the metroplex, this is the perfect opportunity to talk to your kids about getting ready to go back to the classroom. If they’re up for it, let them help you pick out their supplies or get them excited about shopping for new clothes for the upcoming year. But, if your child can’t handle large crowds, online shopping is also a feasible and convenient option.
- Wake up and bedtimes may have been relaxed during the summer, so you’ll need to start working with your kids to get back on schedule. Visual schedules can be very beneficial for students with special needs. Even those who can read can benefit from picture schedules that may include a clock with the times for waking up, dressing, brushing their teeth and leaving the house. Starting this routine earlier rather than later will make it much easier when that 6 AM alarm goes off on the first day of school.
- Make sure they start their day with a healthy breakfast. Keep them involved. Discuss the importance of a healthy diet and let them choose their own snacks, such as yogurt, fruits, veggies and proteins. You can use this as a teaching opportunity and explain why these types of foods are good for them and why they keep them alert and focused during the school day.
- Get organized and plan ahead, so you can make the transition from summer to school year as easy and as stress-free as possible. With set routines in place, you and your child will be setting yourselves up for success.