Back At School – The 1st Week
We hope that the first few days back to school for your children have been productive, and aside from the normal hiccups of meeting new teachers and getting back in to a routine, relatively easy to manage!
At MyLiferaft, we have children of our own and understand that going back to school can be a tough time for families, especially when transitioning from infants to juniors, primary to secondary, or to college or university.
Children with SEN
This time can be understandably even more challenging for children with Special Educational Needs. It can take children with SEN longer to settle into a new routine and feel comfortable with the environment around them, which in turn can affect their home life.
As parents and carers, we need to be mindful that some children will still be finding it difficult to settle into school life, which is why we have put together a series of 5 tips aimed to alleviate some of the chaos this time of year brings.
Five Top Tips To Help
Highlight the ‘fun’ aspects of school life
It’s easy for children and parents to associate school with hard work, exams and structure, which in turn, can sometimes be restrictive and create a sense of negativity. This can make the thought of going to school every day much more daunting for both parents and children.
One way to help is to start highlighting the ‘fun’ aspects of school; whether that’s playtime, story time in class, art lessons or if your school runs any ‘family fun days’ where parents can come into school and get involved in the activities. One of the MyLiferaft parents regularly helps with the cookery classes!
Normalise the new routine at home
Children can find it hard adjusting to the school day routine in the first few weeks of the new academic year. After the fun of the summer, it’s a shock to the system – for everyone!
As the founder of Mothers with Attitude blog, Terri Mauro, tells Care.com: “Anything you can do to make something a routine before it has to become a routine, eases the transition, and whatever you can do to keep structure to your days will help.”
To help your child adjust to a new routine at school, it’s wise to create a routine at home. Before school, a getting ready routine will support the routine of the school day. The same after school to get homework completed and dinner eaten will help to normalise the structure of the day.
Understanding your child’s Individual Education Plan
Understanding the support your child will be receiving at school is key, so make sure you can speak to their teacher or SENCO. Your child may also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to support their education, which will be reviewed regularly; it’s crucial that you are involved in this process too. Ensure the plan is clear so you can support the school’s effort at home.
As Reading Rockets points out in their back to school article, the “IEP is the cornerstone of your child’s educational program, so it’s important that you have a clear understanding of it”.
Start preparing for next year’s transition now
It may seem strange reading this in September just as the new school year starts, however if your child is transitioning to a new school in the next academic year, it’s recommended that you start preparing as soon as you can. It may not require immediate action, but it’s definitely worth thinking about now so you can reduce your child’s anxiety nearer the time.
Start with visits to the new school. Empowering Parents has a great idea for this: “Visiting a new school with your child when school is still in session is overwhelming for most any kid, especially those who are feeling anxious.” See if you can visit after school or at the end of a term, rather than during the school day. Visit as often as your child requires so they can feel comfortable in their new environment and arrange meetings with their new teachers if possible.
Keep all meetings, calls and documents organised with MyLiferaft
MyLiferaft is here to support you and your loved one’s needs all year round, but it’s also an invaluable tool to help with getting back into school life. Here’s how our application can help make the school routine a little easier for your family.
- Use the MyLiferaft Trackers to keep a record of food likes and dislikes so if you are not around, you can easily pass the information on if someone else is making up a packed lunch.
- Record any useful information you think will be helpful to your child’s teacher to facilitate with settling in.
- Keep a track of your child’s mood over the initial weeks to monitor how they are settling in and if there is anything that triggers a mood change.
- Use the goals section to help your child work towards a greater independence.
- Organise any meetings or school visits so you can keep on track.
MyLiferaft is a free resource which gives a parent of a disabled child, and those who care for them, one central online place where they can add, manage and share information about health, care and well-being. Using MyLiferaft reduces the need for repetition and explanation every time someone new comes in to the care circle, helps improve consistency and is truly centered around the person and their needs.
Other benefits of MyLiferaft include:
- Telling members of your child’s care circle best way to interact you’re your child to reduce levels of stress
- Let others know how to support you and your child i.e. what are their likes and dislikes
- Set reminders so you worry less about forgetting appointments or your child taking their medication
- Try keeping track of your child’s mood so you can spot trends
- Keep a record of what works well for you and your child and what doesn’t, so you can pass this on to others within the care circle
- Set yourself and your child some goals and track how you are getting on with achieving them
- Share your goals with others so they can help you reach them
- Keep a record of meetings/consultations you have with professionals and write down what was discussed so you can refer back to it at any time or share it with others in your child’s care circle
- Share information with others e.g. doctors, family friends, social workers, therapists, teachers etc
Try our Free Account now to discover the many ways in which MyLiferaft can help
At MyLiferaft, we aim to give you everything you need in once place and this includes where to go for advice, information and support. Our extensive list of resources has a specific section for going Back To School giving ideas and details of organisations to help with activities for all weathers! We also have links through to organisations that support Parent Carers, Learning Disabilities, Accessibility, Bullying, Going Back to School, Bereavement, Mental Health, Autism, Epilepsy, School Holiday ideas, Benefit information and various NHS information websites.
You can also be part of the MyLiferaft community and receive our regular newsletter which gives you up-to-date information on health, care & well-being. Sign-up here to join our ever growing network!