Back to School! The transition from Summer to School can be tough on little ones, and frankly, for the whole family. Whether your child is starting preschool, or headed back to their school in a new classroom – these tips and tricks will help ease the transition period for everyone.
I’ve teamed up the The Sensory Project to bring you these tips and resources for your back to school kids! For more information make sure you listen to their podcast that goes live on August 14th!
In the meantime, if your child has an IEP, listen to their most recent episode, IEPs and Advocating for your Child’s Education.
Tips for the Summer to School Transition
Make the Trip
If your child’s new school offers a “meet and greet” day where kids can go see their teachers, classroom, and school, take advantage of it! Allowing a child to see where they will be spending a lot of their time can be helpful and ease their worries.
When we know what to expect, we can more easily regulate. I think of this as seeing an office I will be working in before my first day on a new job. Or, when I’ve spoken to large groups in the past, it eases my worries to see the space I will be speaking in before hand – same concept for little ones.
If your school does not offer this, call the office and ask when a good time would be to bring your child for a tour of the school. You don’t need an official tour — just walking around the school and pointing out the important landmarks can be helpful (library, gym, classroom, playroom, etc.) If you can have your child meet their teacher(s) before hand, even better!
When you make the trip to school, take photos of the different classrooms and areas your child will be spending time. Print off these photos and put them into an album or make a small book for your child. Flip through the book with them and allow them to review it on their own as well. Visually processing what life will look like day to day at school can help ease worry and ease them into the back to school routine.
I won’t get into my feelings on the requirements of young children in terms of attention spans for school – but depending on your child’s age, they may be expected to focus on an activity for X amount of minutes. Work up to this at home before school starts.
For example if they need to be able to spend 10 minutes in circle time, or 30 minutes doing table top activities – start at home with 2 minutes, 5 minutes, then work up to the time they will need pay attention for school.
Make the activities preferred activities they enjoy. Mix it up! If they love to pretend, play “school” and include yourself and siblings, everyone taking a turn to pretend to be the teacher.
Back to School Shopping
Include your child in any back to school shopping. Clothing, supplies, whatever – if they are able to help choose their new supplies and clothing, it can give them a sense of grounding and confidence to brave the new world of school.
If this is not in your budget this year, taking them thrifting and pick up a couple new t-shirts and a pack of pencils. I am always amazed what I find when I pop into a Goodwill or Kid to Kid consignment store.
Start the morning school routine 1-2 weeks before school starts. This may look like (during the week) family is up at the time they will need to be for school, dressed, breakfast, all in time to get to a fun summer activity like the pool, museum, park – anything.
Getting the morning routine down before the first week of school can make the transition to early mornings a little easier for the whole family.
Tools for Back to School
The Sensory Project and I came up with this list for things that can help children with sensory needs (or without) transition back into and enjoy school!
- T-stool/Wobble Seat
- Pencil Grips
- Lap Pad
- Weighted Vests (Take the Weighted Vest Quiz)
- ARK Chewy Pencil Toppers
- ARK Vibrating Pencil
- Essential Oil Bracelets
- Under Chair Theraband
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Visual Schedule (use code: thesensoryproject208)
- School Sensory Diet (use code: thesensoryproject208)
- Velcro under table for fidget
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Loop Scissors
- Hungry Cutters
- Rock Crayons
- Zones of Regulation Visual for Classroom
Photos courtesy of, npr.org, potterybarnkids.com, amazon.com, thesensoryproject.com. When you click affiliate links in this email and you make a product purchase, re:born collective may get a small percentage from your purchase at no additional cost to you.