This weeks guest blog post is by RDI consultant Sue Simmons and you can read the original post here
School is almost here! Let’s get Back-to-school Ready! Whether you see it or not, it’s likely that your child’s emotional barometer is on the rise! It’s time to begin gearing down – yes, gearing down – for the start of the school year. Here are some simple strategies you can implement right away.
- Quiet your schedule. I caution parents to try to “squeeze in” any last attempts to get to Wonderland or the CNE in the last week or two before school. On the contrary, this is the perfect time to spend some laid back time at home. I’m not suggesting that you don’t plan any outings, but do be aware that your child will likely be “feeling” the upcoming school year. Do yourself and your child a favour, and factor this into your planning. Don’t do too much, watch for signs of overwhelm and keep your cool in the event of a meltdown.
- Get your child’s sleep habits under control. Gradually shifting bedtime will ease the transition to early rising. Similarly, if your child sleeps in, wake him a little earlier each day, so the early-morning routine isn’t overly jarring at the start of the September.
- Have some low-key chats about school. When our kids are nervous about things, it’s tempting to avoid discussion. This is not the best approach. I suggest that you spend some time talking about potential concerns. Express empathy and let your child know that jitters are normal and shared by all kids. If it causes upset, at least you’ll have time to smooth the waters.
Related: Making School AD/HD Friendly
- Plan a play date or two with kids your child knows from school. This will help your child feel a bit more grounded and connected before school begins.
- If possible, tour the school, and/or meet your child’s teacher. This has the potential to ease a great deal of “pre-worrying!”
- Shop with your child for back to school goodies. As much as possible, allow your child to choose his/her supplies.
- Plan a quiet family celebration to review summer memories. Talk about your favourite experiences, look at your photos, and emphasize your child’s accomplishments. Perhaps consider making this a family tradition!
- Keep YOUR cool! Our kids are notorious for picking up on our anxiety. The more relaxed you are, the better you’ll fare. Take care of yourself during the transition to the school year. Remember, if you’re depleted, you won’t have the resources to support your child.
The parent of a child diagnosed with Asperger’s at 5, Sue has experienced the heartache and frustration that you likely know yourself. She has worked with families affected with ASD since 2002, after founding the first ASD support group in the Kawarthas. Since that time she has spent countless hours helping families in crisis, and in need of educational support and advocacy. She has held volunteer positions at the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board’s ASD Team, and Special Education Advisory Committee. In 2006, Sue began training with Psychologists Dr.‘s Gutstein and Sheely at the Connection Center in Houston TX, to become a Certified Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)Consultant. She has successfully re-certified every year since.