Monday 2 September 2019

Our summer wind-down routines in the run up to school

Boy filling in an activity sheet

The school summer holidays is always the longest break in routine for our kids. Whilst our kids with autism struggle with these changes, many kids find the transition into and out of school holidays challenging. We've found that there are things that can help.

Return to school timetables

I don't mean lesson tables.  Of course I'm talking about returning to normal daily routines that often go out of the window in the holidays. 

We've been travelling lots of the summer, through some time zones and had lots of days out.  This has meant we've changed things such and meal times and bed times.  The kids have been going to bed later and some mornings have been more relaxed. 

In the run up to school starting we are trying to get back into the old morning and evening routines. Getting up, getting dressed and having breakfast by 8.30 so that come first day back, it's not such a shock.  This is particularly helpful, if like us, you are jet lagged from a trip abroad.

Countdown calendar

Knowing exactly when they are going back to school is a big thing for my kids.  But they also like to know other things, like when Dad is going back to work.  Having these activities on a countdown calendar can work well for some families. 

Our eldest likes to know when it's happening but doesn't like to talk about it. By having a visual calendar he can refer to it anytime he likes without it being mentioned and this is less stressful for him.

In the past we've also had dry-run days when we go through not just the morning routine as above, but we've also actually gone through getting in the car and driving to school.

Be prepared for the first day back

All our kids schools do a really good job in transition prep for the kids.  They've all spent time with their new teachers and in their new classrooms. But there are the other things to be ready for.

School uniforms don't just need to be checked for fitting but the kids need to be re familiarised with them.  We have them set out in their Armoire and get their school shoes on their feet at least a few days before hand.  School shoes can feel pretty stiff and hard after trainers or sandals during the summer so we try and get the kids senses adjusted a little before hand.

Then we help with ideas for what will actually happen on the first day back.  Most of the kids will have an easy day.  There is a good chance that one of their tasks at school will be either writing or talking about their holidays.

We have had a brilliant vacation that's included lots of things but my kids need help organising their thoughts and recalling information. Keeping a journal of the holiday or making notes about a few things can be very helpful to refer too.  They can even take one into school.

A journal with a wrap around or sleeve can be really helpful as you can also add in bits like a scrap book without them getting lost.  We found blank pages are the best as it helps open up ideas and doesn't stress the kids out when writing or things go over lines.  We glue in activity sheets from days-out, maps and ticket stubs.  Our one is also refillable so the kids can use it holiday after holiday and know they have something to refer to. 

Any end of summer routines that you use to help kids going back to school?

This post supports the Makaton #wetalkmakaton sign of the week 'Uniform'.  
This is not sponsored, we just use Makaton a lot - why not learn some?

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