Back to School Strategies

by | Aug 12, 2014 | School/Homeschooling

This article was originally published and written in 2013

Summertime is wonderful and hopefully you have been able to spend much quality time with your child this season! But time flies and soon school will be back in session. As parents begin to think about their children returning to school, or starting school for the first time, it can cause many feelings of apprehension and anxiety. Spending some time helping your child prepare for this transition will not only help them but parents too! Here is a list of several things parents can do now to help that transition occur more smoothly.

Strategy #13: Request a meeting with the teacher the week before school so you can sit down and discuss your child. Bring an “All About Me” written portrait of your child to share with the school staff. This helps the staff bridge their learning about your child and also sets the stage that you are an active, involved, committed parent. Be sure to share anything that will be helpful for the teacher to understand including supports that you know help him/her, strengths, weak areas, likes, dislikes and communication style. Parents often find that by going through this process it helps them organize their knowledge and concern about their children and advocate for them more effectively.

Strategy #12: Help your child take responsibility for the kinds of things (consistent with their age) that they will need to do at school. Writing name, tying shoes, organizing school materials and back packs.

Strategy #11: If your child hasn’t read all summer, now is a good time to crack open a book and have them start reading or read to them.

Strategy #10: Start eating meals at the same time that they will eat during the school year.

Strategy #9: Re-establish routines of getting dressed and out the door in the morning to help transition into the school day rhythm – maybe you will run errands or go to the park.

Strategy #8: Start getting your child to bed early and waking at the time necessary for school once it starts so the morning routine will be easier.

Strategy #7: Review your child’s previous year’s IEP to make sure that you are in agreement with the goals for your child for the upcoming year.

Strategy #6: Shop for the school supplies together, allow your child to choose their favorite pencils, crayons, erasers, themed notebooks, etc.

Strategy #5: Make a list of the school supplies your child will need, if possible have them join you in making this list.

Strategy #4:Practice walking to school with your child.

Strategy # 3: Take some photos of your child playing on the playground or meeting the teacher and review these with your child periodically.

Strategy #2: Visit the new classroom; meet the new teacher if that is a possibility.

Strategy #1: Visit the school ground, play on the equipment


  1. sue

    What if the child would to homeschooling? How to transit the child to homeschooling environment?

  2. Elizabeth

    Hi Sue. That is a great question. W have a number of RDI homeschooling families who I am sure have some tips. Also we have another article that will come out next week on transitions in general, which might give you some good ideas.

  3. Kat Lee

    As a fellow home-schooler( and RDI Consultant) I find that the principle of pre planning and preparation is key. I’ve homeschooled for 19 years and one of the biggest obstacles can come when I’m not prepared for the day. So making sure that we have set aside time to get ready and also to prepare for the week each week can be key.
    I’m planning to write a longer article on homeschooling with RDI principles in the near future.

  4. Lisa Palasti

    Hi Sue,
    If you are going to transition your child from school to homeschool there are a few things that you can do to help your child settle into the idea of schooling at home more easily. One idea is to help them be apart of the process of setting up their learning environment at home as possible. For instance, your child can help decide where they like to place the table and chairs in the room (near the window, in the corner of the room, etc) which chair they would like to sit in, what they do during physical exercise breaks, where to hang art work, display projects, where to read (bean bag, comfy chair) etc. You can encourage the child to make some decisions by trying things out a few ways before making their choices.

    If your child is anxious about going to school or fearful that they will be going back to school again you can help ease their fears with a picture or written schedule. Perhaps they can help prepare the schedule. This will depend on your child and his or her level of understanding.

    All the best!

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