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Preparing for the New School Year
By Justin Gerwick

There are many positive things about the summer. The sun is out, nature is lively, and the absence of school leaves plenty of free time. But there could be some things that you or your child might be worried about as the new school year quickly approaches. What will be different about school this year? Will all of your friends and favorite educators still be there? What will the bus ride be like? And maybe most importantly – has your child regressed on any of his or her skills? The transition to a new school year can be daunting, but it’s a process that you and your child can help each other through.

Start simply. Have a conversation with your child about what may or may not have helped them last year. Is there a particular friend or educator that they connected with? Are there school supplies, stimulus toys or some other object that they felt more comfortable having on hand? If you can identify something that assures some comfortability for your child, it could give them something to look forward to and begin the easing process.

Next, work together to get coping skills back on track in time for the new school year. There’s a chance that without the structure of school and the constant fine-tuning of skills, that your child may have regressed on some of the positives that he or she learned the year before. It’s also possible that you may need to read through your child’s education plan in order to refamiliarize yourself with goals that your child is working toward. Once you’ve identified those traits or goals, do some practice activities at home or have a conversation with your child about what they are excited or nervous about with the coming school year and how they should respond to those feelings.

Now it’s time to get the routine back in motion. Without the daily structure of school, your child’s schedule has likely become inconsistent. So, help your child get back into the routine before the school year starts. Begin by having your child wake up in the morning at the time they would for school, have them dress and get ready the same way they would on a school day, and then drive them to school along the route that the bus will likely take. The time spent getting to and coming home from school can often be the most stressful part of a student’s day. Help your child in preparing for that ahead of time by practicing the trip and discussing what can be done to make that ride go as smoothly as possible.

Maybe the most important part of this whole preparation process will be to remember that your child still needs to have fun. While getting back into the routine and becoming as prepared as possible for the transition is important, an overly stressful process isn’t going to produce results. Work with your child at their pace on this transition process, and make sure to discuss what makes your child comfortable or anxious and how to respond to those feelings.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein.

New Story is a licensed, private school which offers a special education academic learning environment and multiple therapeutic services to help children achieve success while coping with emotional and behavioral challenges. For more information, visit www.newstory.com or call (412) 373-5235.

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