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How to Set Your Child Up for Success This School Year

After months of unknowns, changing schedules, and new routines, starting a new school year seems like both a welcome and intimidating change. While young children are starting school for the first time, older children are entering a school environment that looks completely different than the one they left in March. Self-regulation and executive skills are both very important for school success.

Did you know that speech-language pathologists provide support and intervention for the development of these skills?

What is Self-Regulation and Executive Skills?

Self-regulation describes a child’s ability to monitor and manage his or her energy, emotions, behaviours, and thoughts in appropriate and expected ways. In order to manage challenging situations and feelings, a child must develop effective self-regulation skills. 

Executive skills are required for a child to be able to pay attention, learn routines, and regulate emotions. Other executive skills include problem-solving, planning, and organization.

How Can Parents Help?

In order for your children to be successful at school, they must learn some new routines that are likely very different than the routines they have been following during the extended time at home.

Developing a morning routine for school days may seem simple to adults, but there are actually many cognitive skills required to make this a success.

Your child must pay attention, remember the steps, get started in a reasonable timeframe, complete the task, manage emotions, and be ready to head out the door in time to get to school.

Although we know that executive skills continue to develop throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, younger children can be taught the skills needed for following routines. 

Establishing a Routine 

Visual schedules help to teach routines by outlining and sequencing the steps and tasks required for daily routines.

Print pictures that represent important activities in your child’s day (waking up, eating breakfast, getting dressed, going to school, coming home, unpacking backpacks, playtime, dinner time, bath time, storytime, going to bed). The pictures provide children the opportunity to see and understand the plans for the day, leading to increased feelings of security.

It may reduce conflict as the plans and expectations are clearly displayed, and hopefully, you will not need to provide as many verbal reminders.

While school may look different this September, you can set your children up for success. Try your best to make them feel prepared for the adventures ahead!

If you have any concerns about your child, you can contact Fern Speech and Language Services to set up a free consultation session.


Andrea Jennings, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO
Elizabeth Skirving, M.S., M.Ed., Reg. CASLPO
Speech-Language Pathologists
Fern Speech and Language Services


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