Jul 11, 2019

Thinking About Back to School?! Already??!!!!

It seems like we aren’t even out of school, and I’m already talking to you about preparing for back to school?! YES! There are many things you can do over the summer to minimize fears and resistance that back to school time can bring. In my own home, two out of three of my own kids don’t like school. Of course, the artist, Meatloaf, says "two outta three ain’t bad," right? Well, it can be if you aren’t preparing during the summer.

Boy and girl students preparing for back to school with mother at the door

Here are activities we’ve done over the summer to help reduce the back to school stress:

  • Keep visiting the playground or school library (if open) weekly during the summer. This can help keep the ‘familiarity’ with school and build positive connections with the school environment.
  • If you know your child’s teacher, you might ask if your child can visit as the teacher is setting up the room. Having a child see varied stages of ‘setup’ of the room (or even helping with setup) can help them feel connected to the space and feeling like they are a part of that setting.
  • My oldest son literally banned me from driving on the street by school one summer. I honored his request for one month, but then we had it marked on the calendar when we needed to get in ‘school mode’ and at least start driving by the school on occasion. I acknowledged his dread and that he ‘didn’t want to even think about school.’ And I might have even shared some of the sentiment. I mean, it’s summer, so I tried to model that I even have that feeling myself as an adult. But, there is a time when we need to start preparing again. We can’t shove down thoughts about school forever, but we can go on a ‘mental break’ from them sometimes and that’s OK!

I really like all of the resources on a wide variety of topics from the Child Mind Institute. They have a great article on "Back-to-School Anxiety" and tips for building that positive transition back to the school environment.

Wishing you all smooth(ish) sailing with the summer and school transitions!

GWAEA autism consultant and mom Kelli Robertson is a trained speech-language pathologist who has worked at Grant Wood AEA for 19 years, and is currently an autism consultant and assistive technology coach. She also is the parent of three kiddos who are unique thinkers/learners.