Going back to school and changing up routines can be a huge challenge for families whose children have different needs and it can throw everyone into a little anxiety. Here are a few of my best tips to help everyone prepare!
Talk about school, what to expect and importantly how to react if your child encounters anyone who might mistreat them because of their differences.
We practice telling people about Sensory Processing Disorder and to say “no” if any sensory activities are making us uncomfortable. We also practice telling a grown up we need a break and finding a place to calm down before we get too upset.
We have been prepping to make sure we have comfortable clothing that’s weather appropriate and allowing time to adjust to wearing and touch an textures that could be an obstacle at school.
Make connections with teachers and classroom aids to help make them aware of your child’s needs. Having an ally in the classroom will go a long way! If you can make a basket ( even Dollar Tree baskets work) with a book for the class to read about your child’s needs, a letter introducing your child featuring what they want teachers to know about their needs and it never hurts to throw in classroom supplies or a little coffee giftcard. The library is a great place to find resources for the class as well if your funds are limited. See below for a list of basket ideas and books ideas!
4. Have a back up plan
If all else fails have a back up plan. If food is a challenge pack snacks that are safe foods in your child’s bag or your car at all times, our go to is olives. Have extra clothing, meds and calming items available.
5. For the parents!
Let your employer know ahead of time that not only is back to school hard but also brings a specific set of challenges for your family. Offering to be available by email or phone even if you have to leave work or being proactive in getting coworkers in on helping with the extras to make sure deadlines are met can ease your supervisors stress. The office is another place where a basket of goodies is always a good way to say a small thank you to everyone who is filling gaps while you help your family adjust.
It can also help if you purchase some easy meals that are ready to throw in a pan or pop in the oven. I’m not a regular meal prep type of person but for a busy week I’ll prep some food and also have a plan of what night we are ordering pizza or having the classic Mac and cheese meal. Lastly update your village! Makes sure your spouse, daycare, partner, parents and whoever else is a support system knows that heading back to school is coming and is a time you may need extra help!
6. Be health wise
I’m not saying either choice is the right one. Everyone does what is best for their families but if you vaccinate make sure everyone is up to date and if not grab some extra vitamins and supplements to boost immune systems.
Talk to your kids about hand washing and being smart about sharing drinks etc. And always, always let the school know if your child is immune compromised so that they can help you navigate.
A few of my favorite books…
Just ask by Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Our class is a family by Shannon Olson
The Abilities in me series by Gemma Koir