7 tips and tricks for a school ready child

It’s that time of the year. Christmas has come and gone, and the new year has begun. You open the latest woollies catalogue to plan your weekly shop and see promotions for everyone’s favourite summer pastime, back to school! As fun as it is to shop for new backpacks, snacks, and stationery, returning to school can be a busy time for the family.

With this year’s transition back to school looking a little bit different, it’s completely understandable that you may be feeling a little unsure about how to support your child back into school routine. With online schooling, getting back into a sense of normality at home may be even more challenging, but following the tips below will be a great place to start.

Remember that this is a very tricky time, lower your expectations and don’t be too hard on yourself. It is OK if your child takes a little bit longer to get into a good sense of routine given the current circumstances.

Adding a visual schedule on your fridge at home (like on the whiteboard in the classroom) is a great way to help your child feel engaged and ease their way into start learning again.

Ensuring you are prepared for the return can help ease this process significantly. Here are some skills which if your child possesses, will make this busy time all the easier.

7 skills your child needs to be able to do include:

  • listening to directions.
  • following multi-step instructions.
  • controlling their thinking, behaviour and actions in different situations and be able to respond appropriately.
  • expressing appropriately how they are feeling to feel calm and safe.
  • maintaining appropriate space between themselves, their peers and the school environment.
  • planning and executing body movements to successfully move throughout different environments.
  • using all their senses in order to effectively complete necessary daily living and self-care tasks.

If your child has these skills, or can develop these skills, they transition back to school with ease.

Prepping your child for the school routine can also be tricky. They might be used to staying up late, playing games, seeing their friends and not want to go back to school. They could also be scared of the “unknown” that is a new school year, so it’s important that you comfort them and prep them for what’s ahead.

Speak to your child about what to expect. Sit down with them and go over what they can expect. Ask what is worrying them and have open and honest conversations. Talking about expectations may decreased feeling of anxiety!

Teachers also have a role to play in easing children back to school. Those first few days may be tricky to get them into a routine of listening and engaging, coming off several weeks of holidays.

Try following these 7 tips for a healthy and fun classroom:

  1. establish a consistent schedule or classroom routine. Provide visual picture symbols if necessary for the student to follow
  2. allow students enough time to experience the activity before moving on to the next activity. Use a timer if necessary
  3. provide verbal and physical cues that a transition is approaching.  There are plenty of visual timers that can be used to provide warnings for transitions so that they are predictable.
  4. modify schedules to have the least number of transitions possible. 
  5. sing songs to support transition time.
  6. keep direction simple.
  7. include physical activity into a transition, such as animal walks, yoga poses, star jumps, hopping, and jumping.

Visual schedules are also great ideas for the home to help with routines. These schedules can be used for:

  • completing morning and afternoon routines,
  • getting dressed
  • packing school bags
  • getting ready for bed.

Speak with one of our Occupational Therapists if you would like a visual schedule created for your child. Please contact us for an appointment or assessment.

We’re now based across three locations Adelaide CBD, Mile End and Parkside.

OTFC Group – We’re Influencing Lives. Creating Possibilities. Making a Difference

OTFC is a South Australian clinic-based service that is centrally located and services children and adolescents from birth through to 21 years of age both locally and nationally. Dedicated to providing a client focused approach where children and families feel validated in their concerns, supported in difficult times, encouraged to be proactive and inspired to facilitate change.


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