It is time to get ready for back to school for many families! Here are some tips from the MeBe family to yours to help kids prepare for a successful transition back to school for the new school year.

1. Set up your routine

It is important to establish a routine for your child! Our children thrive when given a predictable routine that they can follow.

Start the school routine early so your child gets familiar with the routine before school starts. Set a designated bed time and organize their day around what their school day will be like.

Need some tips to help make your mornings go a little smoother? Check out our article, How to Make Mornings Easier for Children with ASD or Special Needs.

2. Practice your morning routine!

Mornings can be tough for everyone. To help transition from a summer schedule to your school schedule, start practicing your morning routine before the school year begins.

Think about what challenges you face with your child’s morning routine. Do they struggle with brushing their teeth? Eating breakfast? Getting dressed? These tasks may require extra time – and extra patience.

Try using visual supports to help assist your child with these morning routine tasks. You could try a visual timer to help your child keep to the schedule. Or print a visual schedule to hang up on the wall that shows the tasks that need to be completed.

Many of the kiddos we work with thrive on repetition. If you start practicing the morning routine now, then the expectations and routines will already be established for the beginning of school.

If you find that you are having difficulty with your mornings, talk to your BCBA about ways to assist your child with different aspects of the morning routine.

3. Use visual supports

Creating visual schedules for your kids can help them to follow a routine and understand what will come next.

Visuals can also give your child more independence with following through on their own routines. You can use an app on your phone or tablet or create your own printed visual schedule!

Here are some of the apps we like to use:

Here are some free printable visual schedules:

We frequently use visual supports with our kiddos. To learn more, click here to view a recorded MeBe Learning Webinar all about how to create visual schedules and supports to help kids throughout their day.

4. Create a social story

Social stories are narratives (with visuals included) that are used to teach children about social behavior that’s expected in specific settings, such as going to the dentist, taking a trip to the playground, or the first day of school.

Social stories can help your child understand an upcoming event so that they know what to expect. They are a great way to help your child prepare to go back to school, and you can create your own social story at home!

You can start by taking pictures of the school on your phone to use as a visual while you talk with your child about what the first day of school will be like. If you can get pictures of their classroom, cafeteria, playground, school bus, teachers, etc. that would be great to add!

Here are some resources to help create social stories:

  • Autism Speaks Social Stories Templates
  • Social Story Creator app
  • 5. Prep for success

    Help your child get excited about going back to school!

    Kids may enjoy picking out their first day of school outfit, shopping for school supplies, making a menu of school lunch options, or picking out a new backpack.

    Involve your kids in preparing for the new school year to start and make it fun!

    6. Know before you go

    Check with the school ahead of time to determine what their health and safety procedures will be this year. Talk with your child about the school’s expectations such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing.

    7. Ask questions

    Learning what your child’s day will look like is a great way to prepare them for back to school!

    Contact your child’s school to learn about classroom size, additional services provided, and how the teacher is going to communicate with you about your child’s progress.

    Also find out if there are any reinforcement systems used in the classroom (star charts, self monitoring system, tickets for positive behavior, etc.)

    Consult with your BCBA to work on rewarding positive reports that come home from school, and collaborating with the other service providers at your child’s school.

    If you need some additonal support, our experienced team of Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are here to help. Contact us today.

    For more tips to help kids prepare for a successful transition back to school, check out @mebefamily on Instagram and Facebook and visit the MeBe Family YouTube channel.