Back to School! Get organized.
September means “Back to School” and is a great time of year to get organized and put good routines back into place for children after a busy summer. All children benefit from structure and routine. However, kids who struggle with sensory challenges or need extra help staying focused benefit from visual cues to stay organized and calm. Prepare for a smooth school day by setting out clothes and belongings the previous night. Spend extra time with students to ensure they understand the basic routine at school and what changes they can expect throughout their day.
“The way children feel determines how they behave and are able to learn and attend. That’s why we should pay more attention to children’s feelings than their behavior.“
Organizing toys in your classroom can go a long way when teaching matching and organization skills to young children. Use additional visual cues (such as a picture) to help children match items to their locations—allowing them to be more independent with daily clean-up routines.
A board that includes a checklist of tasks builds routine and independence during the morning hustle. Use clip art images, poster board, and Velcro to create a simple system where children move tasks from “to do” to “done”. You can also find magnetic boards at craft stores to create an organized system for older kids. It can become a great command center to visually track everyday expectations, chores, and positive rewards they earn throughout the week.
September 26, 2018 is National School Backpack Day
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) sponsors this annual event to promote the proper sizing, packing, and use of backpacks to avoid back pain throughout life. Consider the following AOTA recommendations for students heading back to school:
- A child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10% of his/her body weight.
- Wearing a backpack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine—causing pain or discomfort.
- Select a backpack with well-padded shoulder straps.
- The backpack should fit snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backward and strain muscles.
- The bottom of the backpack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline.