This first couple of weeks of school can bring many changes for our children. Teachers, classrooms and Educational Assistants can all change. And change is hard for our kids! Change is inevitable though. Nowadays, principals don’t know who all of their teachers are going to be before the school year begins. When a teacher is off on sick leave, maternity leave, personal leave, etc. their position must get filled. However, interviews don’t always happen until the week before school and sometimes, during the first week of school! So they will have a temporary teacher for a week or two until the hiring has been complete. And it’s a process that the schools need to follow. Try not to get too upset with the principal if this happens, because he/she has no other choice but to follow the process. However, I have worked in a classroom where we had 5 different teachers over the course of the school year! It happens more often than you think! Obviously, things need to change, but that’s a whole other blog post! For now, I just wanted you to be aware of some possible changes. The school staff and board staff can’t control when someone gets hurt, pregnant or ill. But we as parents can try and be as prepared as possible. I know our kids like routine. And absolutely, stick with a routine as much as possible. But every once in a while, I think it’s important to throw in a “change” to that routine. If we practice at home where they feel most safe, after having that experience, it may make change easier when in other environments such as school.
We used a ‘Change of Plans’ card. We would keep these cards at home and in our car. We used a 2×2 Boardmaker card (most schools have this program so ask your child’s EA or teacher if you need some visuals) but you can easily make your own with a cue card. Cut the card in half. Draw a star in the middle or add a sticker of your child’s favourite character and write Change of Plans on the top. Keep the card in a little baggie with some of your child’s favourite treats and tiny toys. Anytime you practice a change (especially where you said you were doing one thing but all of a sudden have to do something else) hand the child the card while telling them plans have changed, while offering them a treat at the same time for accepting that change so well. Eventually you can wean to just showing the card and then the goal would be to just verbally tell them.
I know this won’t work for everyone but it was successful for us so I thought I would share. Feel free to adapt or come up with your own strategy, but I highly recommend you incorporate some “changes” into your day. The more we stuck to a schedule (which our kids need to feel safe), the harder it was to do something different. This just allowed our changes to not be so hard for everyone!
If you need anymore help with changes in routine, send me an email, I’d be happy to help!