Yes, summer is over. Hopefully, this summer has been one that can be happily remembered. We want those school years to be remembered happily, too. There are ways to brighten going back to school for children. If the school year begins well, chances are the rest of the year will go well also. So, what can be done to help everyone ease back into the school year with the least amount of conflict?
For a child with ADHD, going back to school may be difficult. Last year’s experiences may have left the child with mixed feelings about school in general. Even though the thought of going back to school and preparing for the event may be exciting, the actual act of again facing structured days may cause anxiety especially if previous school experiences have been frustrating.
Think about the tips below. Are they applicable for you and your child?
A. Being positive is by far the most important tip. If the parents are anxious, so is the child and that child will feed off of the parents’
anxiousness. Remind yourself and your child to enjoy himself and to have fun.
B. Adjusting bed times and wake up times can be difficult. Children find it hard to go to bed when it’s still not quite dark outside. Remember: Sleep is important for a child especially an hyperactive one. Arrange for bedtime to be an enjoyable time – a time of quiet talk and peaceful “good-nights”.
C. Visit old friends. Secure the class list. Are there some of the students in this year’s class that were in last year’s class?
Arrange visit time with those students. This allows the child to pick up where he left off last year. There won’t be any new surprises.
D. Take time to visit the new classroom even if the new teacher isn’t present. This gives a sense of belonging. “This is my room. Here are the lockers. One will be mine. One of these desks will be mine too. I wonder which one? Here is the restroom. I won’t have to search for them on the first day of school.” If the teacher is there, so much the better. That teacher wants school to start smoothly so she is going to make the child feel welcome and part of the school.
E. Back at home, take time to mark the starting date on the calendar. Begin to mark the days until school starts.
F. Create a study area at home and organize school supplies. Emphasize that everything has a place, and everything belongs in its place. Discuss this arrangement and how it eliminates confusion.
G. Create a special place for backpacks and lunch bags. Discuss how this allows everything to be in its place and easily found for the next day.
H. Have a “dress up” day. Let this be fun. Have the child search through clothes and find those he/she can wear this year. Do you need to go shopping? Write a list of exactly what is needed, and discuss the list with the child before leaving to shop.
Both parents and child will benefit from preplanning the school year. Expectations of the child are clearly defined and the child is mindful of behavior expected. Parents will lose frustration and so will the child.
Remember: Be positive. If parents want a positive child, they must be positive also. Adjust bedtime. Visit old friends. Visit the new classroom. Mark the starting date on your calendar. Create a study area. Create special place for your backpacks and lunch bags. Have a “dress up” day.
HAVE FUN AND ENJOY!