Parents and students always feel a bit nervous about the start of a new school year. Our children look forward to reconnecting with friends, getting new clothes and being with new teachers. At the same time they may be concerned about riding the bus for the first time, entering a new classroom or transitioning to a new school.

Our students with ADHD and LD might need several exposures to new situations before they feel comfortable. Or, you may be the one who is concerned about these new experiences and your student feels just fine! How do we make everyone feel more confident about the new beginning?

  • Plan low-stress evenings for the first week of school. Be available to share their impressions of their first few days. Try to sit down as a family for dinner or a snack. Even going for an ice cream or a walk together after dinner will encourage conversation. Try to avoid late nights at work or business trips so you can be present in the evenings.
  • Plan for a positive first week. Have your child pick out their clothes for the first few days. Choose some special treats for lunch. Bringing a packed lunch might be less stressful; it avoids the chaos of students navigating the lunch line and allows a few extra minutes to eat.
  • If your child is going to a new school and/or is riding the bus for the first time, drive the route to school. Point out landmarks along the way so your student will know where they are. Do the same for the return ride on the way home. Your child is probably more worried about missing their stop on the way home. Find a landmark before their stop so they easily recognize where they are. Is there a “buddy” at the same bus stop or who walks the same route to school? 
  • Change to “school” hours at home for bedtime and getting up in the morning. This will help adjust the student’s Circadian rhythm and allow them to be “powered on” at the right time for school. No more getting up at 10 a.m. If your child is having difficulty going to sleep at the “school” bedtime, encourage a family walk or bike ride after dinner, and turn off “blue screen” devices at least an hour before bedtime.

Have a great school year! 

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at mmulcahey@springer-ld.org.

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