Is your child nervous about heading back to school? Or maybe it is you? Are you a parent, educator, SLP, or school employee with anxiety over the start of the school year?
The beginning of any school year can be anxiety-producing, but this year is full of unusual dynamics and many new challenges. Some students here in NJ will be starting the year 100% remote, while others will have a hybrid program consisting of in-person and remote learning. It is all quite nerve-racking.
I found a great article from The Child Mind Institute to help manage those back to school worries. The authors offer practical strategies to help you help your child cope with anxiety and give them ways to tolerate and get through situations.
I also wanted to offer a few tips of my own specifically for parents with children who have speech and language disorders and receive related services. If you are a professional that works with children, you may want to share these tips with the families you work with as well.
Ask your therapist (OT, PT, SLP) about materials he/ she plans to use during your virtual session. It helps to be prepared in advance and have all of those items handy. Whether it is scissors and glue, or materials for a fun hands-on activity, having all of the necessary items in pace will help your child be prepared and stay focused.
Does your child's therapist integrate play in their therapy? Send a note and let them know what board games/ card games/ toys you have at home. They may be able to plan activities using what you already have.
Books! Teachers share books in class and many speech language pathologists use books in therapy too (I definitely do!) Ask your teacher/ therapist for book titles that are planned. Many books are now available on YouTube for free. You may even be able to find a link that shows the author reading their work or a famous celebrity like Oprah!
The American Speech-Hearing Language Association (ASHA) is also providing parents with very specific solutions for common challenges that parents may face. You can read the list of strategies here.
Before I go, I also wanted to offer you a few book titles that are helpful in easing worries and building confidence. It's important to acknowledge the array of emotions we all are feeling these days and that includes our children and students. Here are 5 books that help support, nurture, and empower little people.