Transitioning from summer break back to school can be difficult. Routines are formed based on a more flexible schedule and time becomes much more crunched. Here are some tips to help your child transition from relaxed summer days back to busy mornings for school:
- Adjust bed times and wake up times early
It’s easy to have less of a schedule during the summer. Children and adults may sleep in a little later or spend more time in bed, or playing with toys in the morning. When transitioning back to a school schedule, make sure to start early. If your child has been waking up at 7:30 am and will need to wake up at 6:30, take 1-2 weeks to slowly start rousing your child earlier. For the first few days, move it back to 7:20, then to 7:10, giving your child time to accommodate the new morning schedule. Use the same process for any child whose bedtime has drifted later over the break. The slow change allows time for them to get used to the change, rather than providing a sudden and jarring change.
- Start a routine early
In the same vein as above, get back into some kind of routine! If mornings have become slow and your child has started lingering in bed, or spending time with toys and games, start building in a routine to get back to school. Have them wake up and start moving through the morning routine (brushing teeth, getting dressed, breakfast) as they will when they go back to school but without the time crunch of late arrivals. Take them out for a walk or a fun, short activity to start their day.
- Re-adjust snacking
If you have a grazer, make sure to start putting their snacks on a schedule again so that they’re used to having food at a specific time and have a less difficult time adapting to school schedules.
- Use a visual schedule
For some students, it helps to have a visual to-do list of what needs to be done during the morning or afternoon routine. You can create an interactive visual schedule for them to use to work through their routine. Find a sample picture for each activity, put them in an easy to follow order. Review it with them the night before or first thing in the morning. You can even give them a way to check off steps as they finish them, if that’s something they like to do!