Strategy #1The Project:
Create your own "Back to School Social Story".
Social stories are a tool used to make an activity familiar to the child so that they know what to expect in different situations. Social stories are often personalized and customized for each child.
-4 or 5 photo's of the things that will be new and different to your child. For example, if your child will be attending a new school, you need photos of the school, your child's classroom, your child's new teacher, your child dressed in their school uniform with their bag, a picture of a school bus, and so on. Each photo will go on one page of the social story.
-A binder to bind the pages into a book or you can put each page into a clear display folder to make the book that way.
What you'll do:
Make a front cover in your child's favorite color with a photo of them on it and the title of the story,i,e,.Megan goes to School! Design each page with a photo and one or two sentences to explain that photo,
Here's an example:
Megan is going to school today.
**Attach a photo of child dressed ready for school with their schoolbag.**
Megan rides the bus to school or Megan rides in Mom's car to school.
**Attach a photo of how your child will get to school.**
Megan arrives at school. There are many other children at school.
**Attach a photo of school.**
Here is Megan's teacher. Her name is Mrs. Wilder.
**Attach photo of classroom with teacher. If there is a teacher aide who will be caring for your child, put their photo in and their name too.**
Bye now! Mom will come back and pick you up at 3.00 o'clock.
**Attach photo of parent waving goodbye to the child. Also include a picture of the clock face if your child understands the concept of time.
Have a great day!!!
**Attach a photo of Mom and dad with the child, smiling.**
You may want to create a second social story about the actual routine at the school. You can even break it down even more and create a social story about meal-times at the school, one about each subject that is taught, the busride to and from school each day... The possibilities are endless.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep each story very simple. By doing so, your child will have a better understanding of what is going to happen, therefore lessening their anxiety when the big day arrives... and your own anxiety too!
Strategy #2The Project:
Get Back on Track for Back to School!
Get Back into a Bedtime Routine!
As the summer winds down, it's important to reestablish a routine for the school year, well before the first day arrives! Gone are the days of extending the bedtime. No more “Just one more episode of Phineas and Ferb.... Puhhhllleeeaaassee!” or “Can I just play one more game, Mom?”. Love it or hate it, bedtime will now be a meticulously choreographed routine that will begin before the sun has even decided to set. It takes many of our kiddo's hours and hours to wind down and each family will need to plan their routine, accordingly.
-4 or 5 photo's of your child completing the actions on the schedule. For example, since we are focusing on a bedtime routine, you need photos your child brushing their teeth, taking a bath, reading a story, saying their prayers, being tucked in, etc.
What you'll do:
Create a schedule that you can realistically commit to sticking to each and every night and put it onto the poster board attaching the appropriate photo's next to the appropriate action.
Here's an example:
- Try a relaxing, soothing bubble bath like Burt's Bee's Bubble Bath or Johnson and Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bubble Bath and Wash to help your child calm down.
- If your child is anything like mine, then they will want to choose their own PJ's. Have two pair ready for them to choose from. This is a way for them to assert control, and they will make quicker decisions if they are given two options rather than you choosing for them.
- To encourage excitement about brushing their teeth, allow your kiddo to choose the toothbrush and toothpaste that they want.To ensure that they brush for a sufficient amount of time, sing a silly song that they enjoy that will allow enough time to brush their teeth thoroughly.
- Allow your child to choose from two books that you know they enjoy. Read with your child for 15 minutes or if they are old enough, it's important that you let them practice reading aloud to you.If it's a shorter book, stop at each page to take a closer look at the illustrations and talk about them.
- At this time the focus should be on providing a sense of safety and relaxation. Tuck your kids in under their weighted blanket or two heavy blankets, turn on their nightlight (if they use one), give them a slow, ryhthmic massage, turn on some soothing, calming music, say prayers, hug and kiss them, and sing a lullaby if they want one. Make their bedroom feel like a comfortable, secure, safe place. Be unyielding when it comes to bedtime. Refrain from staying in the room until they fall asleep. Instead, promise that you will check in on them in a few minutes to give them a sense of security.
Go over the schedule together for a few days, talking about each step in detail before putting the schedule into action. Be sure to implement the new routine well in advance of the new school year. Depending on your child it may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks (maybe longer) to get them readjusted.
Strategy #3The Project:
Go for a practice run!
To prepare your child for what will become ordinary activities and transitions. That way, they will have the physical and emotional energy to spare for the challenges of social interaction and, most importantly, learning!
What you'll do:
Have your child get up and get dressed as if they were going to school. Get their backpack ready for the "school day" and drive to the school, using the same route you would take if it were an actual school day.
Once at school, practice as much of the school experience as you can before the school year begins. While the school yard is empty, practice drop-offs or pickups. Explore the playground, and practice waiting in line, swinging, and climbing. At home, practice sitting at a desk, raising a hand before speaking, standing in line, eating from a lunch box, and listening to and responding to the start-of-class bell.