Back to School Tip #4: Can they manage their clothes? Their lunch?
Whether or not your child has had a growth spurt over the summer, chances are that they will need some new clothes for school. Many parents, wanting to help their child create a good first impression with the teacher and peers, carefully pick out a new outfit for the first day of school.
Sometimes what makes sense on paper backfires, though. If you have a child with sensory issues, chances are that their new clothes may feel horribly uncomfortable to them. Remember to wash new clothes sufficiently to soften them, or better yet, let your child wear clothes that are not brand new so that they have something familiar and comfortable for their first day of school.
Even if your child does not have sensory issues, make sure that they can handle and manage their clothes. That outfit may look so cute on your child when she tries it on in her bedroom, but can she get in and out of her clothes if she needs to go to the bathroom at school or if her school requires her to change for gym? Yes, we want to help our kids look “cool” and help them fit in with their peers, but do consider your child’s motor skills and whether she will be able to function independently in school.
The same applies to lunches. Many parents seem to pack lunches that their children cannot open independently. If your child cannot open the packaging of the lunch you planned without assistance, consider some alternatives such as re-packing the lunch for them in something they can manage. From a social perspective, they will feel better about themselves if they do not appear to need adults’ or others’ help just to eat their lunch. Do a test-run at home to ensure that your child can open their lunch or poke straws in juice boxes and adjust your lunch packing accordingly.
Remember to hide a note in their lunchbox for the first day. Something cheery like “I hope you’re having a great day and I can’t wait to hear all about it” or “I’m so proud of you and hope you’re having a great day!” can help anxious children feel a bit better on the first day. And of course, pack something they really enjoy and include something extra that they can offer to share with other children.