It’s that time of the year again! The first day of school. This time of year can be challenging for you and your kiddos. Especially, if it is the first time they are going to school. Children with special needs and developmental disabilities thrive on structure and keeping their schedule. Now that school is starting, their schedule will change and the disruption may cause some big emotions. Here are some tips to help caregiving parents get through the challenges of the first weeks of school.
Get to know your teachers and their supporting staff
Having a good relationship with your child’s teacher will be critical while your child is in school. Begin developing a relationship with them. Get to know the teacher by sending emails and going to the school open house. Creating a communication plan with your child’s teacher will help with getting information about your child’s day, and giving the teacher an update on what is going on outside the classroom.
Identify familiar faces
If this isn’t your child’s first year in school, help them find someone they know from the year before. This could be their teacher, ancillary staff, or a student/friend. This will create a sense of safety for your child when you are not around.
The beginning of school, and a change in routine, can mess up meal planning and preparation. Sit town and plan out the first months of dinners and create grocery lists for each week (or bi-weekly) so it is ready to go when you need it. Also, check out the lunch menu at school and prepare for if your child is not interested in eating the food at school. No child can learn on an empty stomach.
Don’t forget Sleep!
Your child may need anywhere from 8-12 hours of sleep per day, depending on their age. That means it is important to figure out what time your child needs to be up for school. Then, set their bedtime for the appropriate amount of time for their age. This can be challenging if they are used to going to bed at a different time.