The school run can be a difficult job for any parent. If your child has sensory difficulties and/or additional needs it can be a whole different level of difficulty. Here at Chewigem, we’ve got a lot of children between us so we’ve come up with 5 tips for an easier school run!
Get things ready the night before. Pack the school bags and have them ready and waiting by the front door. Set out uniforms making sure nothing is missing. Make sure you have dinner money or packed lunches if required. Don’t ask me why but for some reason if you do these jobs in the morning they take so much longer!
Getting up before the kids even if it’s just 5 minutes and having a quiet cup of coffee will give you the best start to your day. If you’re dressed and had breakfast before the kids you’ll feel much better and ready for the rest of the day. If you’re not up and ready there is no incentive for your children to do it.
Autistic children rely on routine. When it comes to the school run our children need consistency. Follow the same routine every morning and this will help to keep unpredictable behaviours to a minimum. The slightest change can cause problems. For example, if your children eat cereal every morning giving them toast could cause anxiety. It can even be as small as the type or brand of cereal. Keep the journey to school the same where possible. If you travel by car try to go the same way each day. If you walk to school try and stick to the same route.
Visuals can be really helpful for your morning routine. Social stories are great for developing self-care skills like brushing teeth and getting dressed. They are presented visually which makes them easier to follow and they can be adapted to each individual. They will also help you with keeping a routine as they can present a sequence. Alternatively, you can use vision boards and pictures. Tom Tags are a unique system of visual aids for autistic children. They can help with organisation, new things and dealing with emotions.
A stress-free school run requires a stress-free parent. If you’re stressed your child will sense it and this can cause anxiety. If you’re running late stay calm, it’s better to be 5 minutes late and stress-free with calm and happy children than rushing and everything going to pot and you still ending up late and also stressed. Getting the kids to school calm and relaxed means they’ll have a better day. It also means they won’t associate the school run with stress and anxiety.
It is important to get your child to school happy and willing to learn. Keeping the transition from home to school stress-free and familiar will help enable this. Follow the advice above and you should be well on your way to an easier school run. But remember above all your child’s mental health is the most important. If they are having a bad day don’t rush to get them there in order for the whole day to be a disaster. Take your time, keep calm and do the best for your child at the time!
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for an easier school run. Remember if you need more support you can join our Facebook Community – The Sensory Support Group!
For more about kids on the spectrum and school why not read the following blogs:
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