Lisa Friedman, Inclusive Educator, Religious School Director, writer & speaker
Great question and wonderful that you are thinking proactively about your son's school experience. Not knowing him or your family personally, I have some general suggestions that may help to ease the transition and get the school year started on the right foot:
- Get used to the daily schedule now. Go to sleep, wake up and eat lunch at the times that your son will on a school day to help his body acclimate.
- If your son will be taking a bus, walk to the bus stop together and stand outside patiently for approximately ten minutes to help him get used to waiting each day. Speak to the transportation department and see if it is possible for your son to "tour" a bus. This will help him to practice getting on and off the bus smoothly and learn how to handle a seat belt.
- Tour the school. Walk through your son's routine with him (from bus to classroom, classroom to lunch, classroom to specials, classroom to bus, etc.). This can help to ease the anxiety he may feel during these transitions.
- Spend time in the classroom learning where various things are located. Help him to get comfortable with "his" desk, if he will have one. Don't forget things like locating the bathroom, water fountain, etc.
- Meet the teacher and other school staff. Help your son become as familiar with the people he will interact with on a daily basis.
- If you think he can articulate it and it won't increase his anxiety, ask your son what he is nervous about and make the effort to experience that aspect of his day in advance, if at all possible.
- Communicate your son's needs to the appropriate school staff in advance of school. This is more than just his academic needs. Be sure to include medical needs, social needs, etc. Also think about things like special events, fire drills and other programs and events that might not take place regularly.
Best of luck for a wonderful year!