That’s right parents… it is that special time of year that can honestly be a love/hate relationship for everyone, Back to School! Kids are getting out of the house which is great! But at the same time, there is so much more to do. In the midst of the chaos of getting everything re-organized so your child is prepared for their first day, it is crucial to support your child’s arousal and emotional needs as he/she makes this drastic shift from their daily summer routine.
The most important thing is to be consistent! Children respond best when they know what is expected of them. Think of the main events of your daily routine: Wake-up, morning bathroom routine, getting dressed, breakfast, day activities, lunch, dinner, nighttime bathroom routine, bed time, etc. Think about the timing required for each of these events during the school year and set a schedule 1-2 weeks prior to school. Try your best to be consistent with the timing for each of these events. Don’t wait until the first day of school to implement your schedule and routine, start 1-2 weeks prior to giving your child time to adjust. This will also allow time for you to make any necessary changes.
School requires kids to sit for extended periods of time, certainly something they are not used to over the summer. It is crucial to provide movement for your kids to help them organize their arousal and attention throughout their daily routine. It is recommended for kids to move 60 minutes per day, so try to find ways to add to activities that are already planned.
Think about in your morning routine implementing a 10 minute period that provides movement-based play:
- Play Tag in the front yard prior to the school bus arriving (to add more power you can implement different movements: e.g. bear walk, crab walk, crawling, frog jumps, etc.)
- Engage in 5 to 10 minutes of yoga positions
- Participate in 5 to 10 minutes of linear movement: e.g. swinging on a playground swing, rolling over therapy ball, bouncing on a trampoline, etc.
- Engage in 5 to 10 minutes of rough and tumble play: pushing against each other’s hands, pushing through shoulders and back, pushing through shoulders and hips in on your hands and knees.
- Play 5 to 10 minutes of Simon Says involving all movement patterns: jumping jacks, running in place, hopping like a frog, dancing, etc.
It is also crucial to provide movement after-school to support your child’s arousal and emotional needs throughout the afternoon and evening. Designate time to either play on the playground, ride bikes, play indoor football and crash into pillows! Anything fun that is going to provide high threshold of movement and resistance for the body, Be creative.
Lastly, school evokes a mixture of emotions, anything from feeling excited, nervous, scared, or anxious. Be an optimistic and positive force to help your child feel comfortable and ready. Any encouragement goes a long way. From all of us at My Kids Therapy, we wish you and all of your kiddos a happy first day of school!