By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
Summer is coming to an end and the start of school is right around the corner! Whether your child is entering preschool for the first time or heading off to high school, it is important to promote a healthy attitude of school and learning at home. If you have a motivated learner, this might not be a difficult task! However, if your child struggles in school or has a language disability, it may prove difficult to keep them motivated. Here are some tips for making the back-to-school transition a little easier for your struggling learner.
Before school starts, talk to your child about the upcoming school year. Highlight some of your child’s favorite things from the previous year to remind them what they like about school. You can also take your child to the school for a tour. Even if your child attended this school
last year, taking him/her there to walk around and become reacquainted before everyone else returns will be less overwhelming. You may want to call ahead to let the front office know you are coming, but most schools will welcome your visit. Also, teachers are often at the school setting up their classrooms and most won’t mind if you pop in to say hello!
At home, read some books about the first day of school. This can help open up discussions about your child’s fears about school and how he/she can cope with those feelings. Here are some great books to consider.
· A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
· First Grade Stinks! by Mary Ann Rodman
· Ready for Kindergarten, Stinky Face? by Lisa McCourt
· The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
Take your child on a special “back-to-school” shopping trip! Let him/her pick out a new backpack and some school supplies he/she likes. Talk about all of the great things your child will learn this year and the fun tasks that can be done with the new
Once the first day of school comes, it is important to set up a routine and stick to it. If your child has trouble remembering all of the things he/she needs to do to get ready in the morning, consider making a schedule or checklist to follow. Include things like getting dressed, eating breakfast, and remembering all of the things he/she needs to bring to school. This will keep your child on track and foster independence.
Having an after-school routine is also important. Set up a specific time for homework and keep it the same every day. Some children do best when homework is done right when they get home and others need a break and like to do homework before or after dinner. Whatever the time, make sure it is consistent. It is also important to have a spot that is designated to work. It should be somewhere well-lit, quiet, and comfortable like a desk in the child’s room or a dining room table. It may be a desk in the child’s room or a table in the house. Just make sure the spot is well-lit, quiet and comfortable.
When it is time for homework, sit down with your children and talk about what they have for homework. Give them some time to try it on their own and then check back in with them. If you see them struggling, offer assistance, but allow them to be as independent as possible. If the material is just too hard and you find your child completely struggling, modify the assignment so they can feel successful and then talk to the teacher about how to better help your child with this material in the classroom and at home.
During dinner talk to your children about their school day. Ask them to tell you one thing they learned, one thing they enjoyed, and one thing they didn’t enjoy. Model this for them by telling them the same information about your day!
Finally, make sure your child is having fun. School is made for learning, but children should also be learning through play and fun. Take some extra special time at night or on the weekends to do things that your child enjoys.
And, as a reminder from the speech-language pathologist, if you are ever concerned about your child’s speech and language development, do not hesitate to contact the SLP at your child’s school or a local SLP in
private practice to ask questions and perhaps have your child screened.
Good luck with the beginning of the school year, and I wish you all a happy and healthy September!
Golden Speech Therapy
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