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Settling into the school routine

Summer holidays are over, and it is back to the school routine! Starting school, or

even settling back into to school routine can be stressful for children and their

families because it requires following a set rigid routine.

Here are some ideas that may reduce their stress and anxiety surrounding returning

to school and can help make this transition manageable for you and your children.

Start The Day With Regulation Activities

Both adults and children feel calmer when they start with an activity that centres, or

regulates, them. Each child has different sensory needs. Some children prefer to start the day quietly with a massage, or some time listening to soothing music in a bean bag chair. Other

children may need more alerting activities such as jumping on a trampoline or going

for a quick run. Experiment with different activities and see which works best for

your child. Generally, activities that engage the entire body such as balancing yoga

poses and animal walks tend to be regulating to the sensory system.

Create A Visual Schedule

A visual schedule helps your child feel calmer and more organized, as it helps them

understand what the day ahead looks like. This provides structure and predictability

and helps to ease anxiety, as your child knows what is coming up next.

Depending on your child, you can use photos, pictures, or words to help them

structure the day. They can also participate in creating their daily schedule, and this

gives them a sense of control and builds responsibility and independence. For

example, your child may choose to have quiet time straight after school, or choose to

have a snack.

Having an emotional outlet

School can be stressful for children. Having to interact with peers, follow multiple

instructions, negotiate different expectations can cause stress and anxiety in

children. Talk through the school day at the end of each day with your child. If he or

she does not want to talk about it, you may also provide different avenues for your

child to explore their feelings – for example, journaling, art, making a craft, or even

quiet time with a pet.

Written by our Principal Occupational Therapist Eunice Lim.

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