You and your child have almost made it to the end of the school year, and that's a victory for both of you. But because your kid's behavioral, academic and/or social challenges don't take a vacation, the last few weeks of school can be a real struggle for the whole family. Help your child through this chaotic transition period using these simple strategies.
Maintain a Sense of Normalcy
The end of the school year is a time of great upheaval for kids. Their teachers are probably doing things differently in the classroom, and end-of-year testing can add a lot of stress and uncertainty to a kid's life. Help your child stay calm by keeping his schedule and home life as predictable as possible. This isn't the time to move him to a new bedroom or introduce a new babysitter.
Maintaining consistency is important not just during the last few weeks of school, but during the first few weeks of summer too. This is a carefree period for some kids, but those with behavioral challenges might be unsettled by the transition. In the weeks leading up to summer, talk about which things in his life will be the same and which will be different. Will he wake up at the same time in summer? Where will he eat lunch, and what will he have? If he's going to a summer program, what time will he come home?
Visualize the Final Days of School
A lot of the normal routines change during the last few days of school, with things like assemblies and field trips altering your child's schedule. Make a countdown calendar that shows how many days are left, and decorate each day so your child can clearly tell if it will be a regular school day or a day when something unusual will be happening.
Prepare for Goodbyes
Saying goodbye to familiar teachers, staff and classmates is hard, especially for kids with special challenges. Help your child create and wrap special thank-you presents for any adults who regularly worked with her. Make playdate plans with a few of your child's favorite classmates for the first few weeks of summer. Before the last day, make your own photo book at home with images of all her teachers and classmates so you can look through them together when your child is missing those familiar faces.
If the end of the school year feels stressful for your child, he might miss out on something important: celebrating how far he's come. School is extra hard for kids with behavioral challenges, so strive to make the last weeks feel special. Make special breakfasts and pick out a few little items to wrap and give as surprise "you did it!" gifts. Plan a special day, like a movie followed by his favorite meal, for the day after school ends. If the last few days feel hard, at least your child will have that special day to look forward to.
Sometimes, it does not matter how hard you try to help your child manage school challenges, it may simply be out of his control. We can help. Brain Balance has worked with over 30,000 children and their families through a comprehensive personal plan that addresses your child’s challenges. Contact us to learn more!