Transitioning Into The School Year
By Hallie Bulkin
Even though some of us are already two weeks into the new school year and set into our September schedules this is still considered a time of transition. The transition from summer activities into the school year is a transition for both you AND your kids!
As a parent you may be happy (and secretly cheering on the inside) to send your child back to school as the school year routine has been re-established in your home; however, your child may not feel the same way.
Whether the concept of “School” is or is not new for your child, children are often stressed over meeting a new teacher, new peers, and adjusting to a new schedule and routine. This is important to note as the younger kids cannot always verbalize it and the older kids become too cool to let you on to how they are really feeling.
As your child adjusts to the new school year it is normal to see changes in their behavior and speech and language skills. Usually these changes are so subtle that many parents don’t even realize it since it is short-lived. To know what to look for here are some common changes that may be seen in your child during this transition back into school (Note: this list is not exhaustive):
- Tantrums: When young children are thrown into a new routine and do not know what to expect this can lead to tantrums. Once they have adjusted the tantrums should stop.
- Silence: Some children become very overwhelmed by such a large transition and go through a silent period where they are more quiet that usual and keep to themselves. These children typically like to take in their surroundings before jumping in full speed ahead. This is okay as long as they begin to interact and speak with teachers and peers after the first few school days or weeks have passed.
- Regression: May be seen in certain academic areas or speech/language skills. This is normal and that is why the month of September is usually dedicated to reviewing skills your child should already have in their skill set.
- Exhaustion: They may tantrum more at home or need a nap (even if they usually are not a “napper”) as they adjust to the longer school days and new schedule. This is normal in the beginning and typically decreases once they have set into their new routine.
Note: these are not things to worry about unless they persist past the first month of school. Then it may be time to have a conversation with your child’s teacher. That said, if your child is delayed in their speech, language and/or social skill development these factors may be exacerbated. Being prepared and knowing what to look for can help you help your child cope with the stresses of a new school year. So what can you do as a parent?
- First, be aware!
- Second, set up play dates with classmates that your child talks about at home. This will help to familiarize them with their new peers outside of school.
- Third, play an active role in your child’s schooling. Have them tell you a story about something that happened each day during dinnertime. Or make homework time a family activity and something your child looks forward to doing as an extension of their school day.
The start of a new school year can be exciting for some and terrifying for others. Pay attention to your child’s behaviors and make sure you are supporting them based on what their actions are currently telling you!
Hallie Bulkin, MA CCC-SLP
Note: This post first debuted on TheDCLadies.com on September 16, 2013.