Transitioning During Uncertain Times
*Daily activities to help you and your child make the transition smoother*
Transitions happen all day long, from getting out of bed to getting out the door to getting ready for bed. This year, the transition back to school after summer takes the cake given the uncertainty and fear we’re all facing!
Once you understand your options and have decided what the back-to-school plan will look like, have a family meeting to explain and discuss. Planning ahead is a key element for reducing anxiety. The more familiar your child is with what’s to come, the easier the transition is likely to be.
Additionally, children manage better if they can be actively involved in a process leading up to this change.
Here are a few suggestions for getting them involved and helping them know what is expected:
- Get prepared:
- Map out the weekly schedule in a planner or visual calendar that works for your child’s age and ability. Display these images/schedule in a prominent place at home and look at them together frequently.
- Make a social story or narrative using relevant photos of school and home, and narrate how the school day is likely to unfold. Make sure to include how the teaching will take place and what the social and other rules will be for learning and staying safe by controlling exposure to germs.
- Adjust sleep routines for healthy sleep.
- Talk about your child’s feelings and concerns and validate what is going on for them.
- Get organized!
- Decide on the best place in the house for focused learning.
- Clear a space and have your child help organize it and add features that help them focus and keep them feeling comfortable.
- Get school supplies and equip the space with what is needed.
- Have your child pick their backpack, binder, lunchbox, and clothes.
- Make a list of healthy food for snacks and lunches.
- Create a countdown calendar.
- Role-play and rehearse how the day will look and discuss possible hurdles that might come up and how they will be handled.
- Practice asking for help.
- Discuss and practice how to think about others and ask questions to get to know people.
- Develop and practice rituals for getting up in the morning, going to bed, saying good-bye, and doing homework.
- Manage Your Own Reactions:
- Be kind and compassionate to yourself! This is a big adjustment for you as well. Try being aware of your feelings, and get help from supportive family members, friends, and other parents. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or someone you love dearly!
- Maintain confidence that you have chosen the right situation for your family and remember that it’s fine for you to doubt yourself and make adjustments as needed.
- Make your daily self-care a priority! Move your body, get outside, don’t forget to breathe, call a friend, listen to music…make a list and do 2–3 activities each day.
- Communicate and partner with teachers:
- Build rapport! If possible, arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher before school starts or as close to the start of school as possible. Your child’s teacher can be a wonderful ally and support.
- Try to make a packet of pertinent information for the teacher.
- Take the time to think of all the details that might be useful for your child. If the child has a 504 plan, an IEP, or a set of specific accommodations, have them ready for review with the teacher(s).
- Ask the teacher to help keep the lines of communication open between home and school. Your child needs all the adults in his/her life working together.
With all of the overwhelm, I wanted to provide simple things that you can do daily to help your child with transitions in general and ways to prepare them for getting ready for this upcoming transition back to school.
Purchase the 12-month theme-based calendar here for only $11.99. It is packed with 365 ideas, tools and activities to be mindful and hold intention with your daily interactions with your child to help them listen, cope, care about others and engage socially so that they can develop critical social and emotional skills for friendship, school and life. Be sure to get your child involved, as they probably have some great ideas too. This can be a win-win because you will feel the benefits too.