Don’t look now, but it’s that time of year again – the excitement and angst of “back to school”.
Unfortunately, some children don’t handle it well. I often get a spike in calls about behavior and discipline issues during September. The transition back to school can be very jarring to some kids, and result in behavior problems.
These behavior problems can be misinterpreted by the school. The school might not cut your child any slack just because it’s the first week back.
It’s a good idea to try to prep your child for the return to school. What that looks like will vary from child to child. But are a few things you could do with your child just before the start of school that might help:
- Meet with the teacher, especially if it’s a new teacher
- Go play in the school playground
- Do some academic activities
- Start talking to them about the new school year starting, and what to expect
- Have them help get their things ready for school (dig the backpack out of the back of the closet, pick out clothes for the first day, etc.)
- Get them back on their school schedule of bedtime and wake time well before the first day of school
Also pay close attention to any warning signs once school starts. If the teacher expresses any concerns about attitude or behavior, take them seriously. If your child seems to be struggling, don’t ignore it and assume it will just pass on it’s own.
The best way to avoid serious consequences from a behavioral incident is to prevent the incident in the first place. Helping your child with the mental and emotional transition back to school can help get them through this sometimes difficult period.
For more tips on helping your child with the back to school transition, check out this article on helping kids get back into the school routine from the Child Mind Institute.
If your child is having behavior problems or disciplinary issues at school, I may be able to help. Students with IEPs have special rights when facing school disciplinary actions. You can learn more about my services here.