For those with an LD—such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia—going back to school might be a return to the constant reminder that they are “different” from their peers. When school starts, not only must children with LD switch their brains from “relax mode” to “learn mode,” they must meet the challenge of gradually more complicated assignments, getting comfortable with new teachers and classroom environments, and they have to again work harder to complete tasks that their classmates appear to do with ease.
Here are a few ways you can make the transition back to school more manageable and enjoyable for your child.
Reestablish bedtime routines a few weeks before school starts.
Many families allow their children to stay up later and wake up according to their bodies’ natural sleep/wake cycle during the summer. Suddenly waking up three hours earlier than his or her body is used to can be quite the jolt for anyone!
For students in elementary school: To ease this transition, start moving up bedtime in five- to ten-minute increments and wake your child up five- to ten- minutes earlier each day. This subtle time adjustment may decrease your child’s resistance to the new sleep/wake schedule. Keep doing this daily until you return to the bedtime regimen that works best for your child during the school year.
For students in middle school or high school: Allow them to change their own schedules as they see fit, reminding them of how hard it will be to wake up on their first day if they don’t adjust to the new schedule gradually.
Work with your child to prepare a homework schedule and location in advance.
Not only will this ease the tension accompanying those first homework assignments on new, “scary” material, but it can also help with the development of organizational skills and good study habits.
With your child, collect and organize the necessary supplies.
In order to complete school work, such as paper, markers, paper clips, a stapler, a dictionary, pens and pencils. Plastic sweater bins or small baskets are excellent for keeping materials organized and accessible. Let your child decorate the bin with markers and other materials to allow his or her individuality to shine!
For older children, work together using back-to-school catalogues to set up a budget for school supplies. Then, give your child the amount of money that you decide upon and let him or her do the shopping, keeping in mind the budget and adjustments they may have to make when shopping.
Review basic academic material to get your child refocused on learning.
If you haven’t been doing so already, take some time to do some fun, educational activities that help your child practice math, science, history and social studies.
Keep activities short and motivating to prevent stress. Reviewing familiar concepts is a good way to start. Often you can find skill review workbooks for all ages at your local bookstore.