For neurodiverse children, the difference between home and school can seem vast and frightening, especially when attending a new school. Unfamiliar faces, new rules, and new routines can feel overwhelming. You can help ease the transition by following a few simple routines. This blog gives tips to help ease the transition from home to school.
1. Establish a Drop Off Ritual
Drop off can feel difficult for both parents and children alike. Establishing a structured routine for drop off can ease the tension of leaving your child at school and manage your child’s anxiety. A drop off ritual is a set of movements/gestures/words that are repeated at drop off every day. For example, the parent may leave and blow two kisses through the window and the child may blow two kisses back. Then the routine is finished. Some parents may give a hug and a high five, then leave. Some parents have also used a repeated phrase or mantra such as “Mommy loves you, misses you, and will see you where? At dinner time!” The repetition gives children both something to look forward to and manages anxiety around leaving.
2. Create a Visual Pickup Schedule
Different routines for different days of the week? No problem. Children can learn flexibility if their expectations are managed, and they are communicated with clearly. Teaching children to use a calendar through pictures is a great start. Some parents create a calendar and put pictures of the individuals picking the child up from school each day. Perhaps grandparents will pick up the child Tuesdays and Thursdays and the babysitter picks up Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Create a picture chart and keep it in a common area at your child’s eye level.