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Parent Tips

Here are some great tips to make it the best year possible!

Social Tips for a Successful Halloween
by Beth Curtin, ACE Sonoma Social Cognition Specialist/Counselor and After-school Program Coordinator 

Halloween is an exciting time for our kids. There are many social expectations that are not stated and can be overlooked when not initially addressed.

Tip #1: Map out the expectations for the evening a few days in advance.

            We are going trick or treating with _______.

            We are going to start trick or treating at ______ time.

            We are going trick or treating in _____ neighborhood.

            We are only going to houses with the lights on

            It is expected to stay with the group

            It is expected to say trick or treat and thank you.

            It is expected to knock on the door and wait patiently.

            It is expected to be respectful of people’s yards.

***Talk about these expectation multiple times leading up to Halloween!***

Tip #2: Role play or talk about problem situations and come up with an exit plan

                        Getting a candy that they don’t want (using the social fake)

                        Scary front yards

                        Disagreements with siblings/peers


                        Loud noises

Tip #3: Set clear expectations and consequences

If you are flexible, kind and stay with group when we get home you can ________.

If you are acting unsafe, yelling or not following directions then _________,

*Make sure you follow through with whatever consequences you set!!****

Happy Halloween!

Download PDF

Is your morning routine a struggle? 

ACE Sonoma Occupational Therapist Jennifer Rabello shared these great tips for establishing a stress-free morning routine from The American Occupational Therapy Association. 

The morning routine is sometimes the most dreaded part of the day. Parents have to get themselves and the kids up, dressed, fed, prepared for the day, and out the door in a timely fashion. How can you stay on schedule while supporting your children and helping them become more independent?

The following tips are from pediatric occupational therapy practitioners who have experience in establishing healthy and efficient morning routines.

Establishing Morning Routines for Children

Downloadable PDF 


Great Back-to-school tips:

1.  Re-introduce ANOVA to your child. This can be done in any number of ways:

a.  Take your child to ANOVA. The staff should be on campus next week, so this is a perfect opportunity for your child to meet a new teacher or see your on-going teacher. During these visits, you can:

  • Ask the teacher what topics he/she will be reviewing during the first few weeks of school. At home, you can begin to work on these topics with your child.
  • Make it fun for your child!! Have your child become a news reporter and ask him/her to generate a list of questions for the teacher to answer. Hopefully, your child will ask questions that will mitigate any anxiety or uncertainty that he/she may be having about a new year at school. In addition, be sure to have your child ask questions that will get him/her motivated and excited for the school year ahead!
  • Have your child make a “portfolio” of him/herself (Idea from Dr. Kluth) to give to his/her teacher. This portfolio can contain fun facts about your child. By doing so, the child will feel more at ease with his/her teacher.

2.  Re-set the internal clock of your child.

  • Shape their bedtime/wake-up time for school. For example, in the next two weeks, have your child go to bed successively 5 to 10 minutes earlier each night, then make sure to wake them up 5-10 minutes earlier than their usual wake up time, until the school wake up time is reached. Offer gentle reinforcements, such as stroking their head to wake them, offering to read with them, etc.

3.  On the day of school: 

  • Provide for extra time so that he/she does not feel rushed.
  • Use a check off list to help your child remember all that he/she needs to do before leaving for school. **Practice this before the actual day, too!
  • Restrict video games/TV before school.
  • Stay calm yourself! Plan the night before so everything is in place and you do not need to worry about it.

4.  Social stories!

5.  For you:

  • Stay positive. Let go of any lingering negative events that occurred from last year. This is a new year with tons to look forward to!
  • Focus on the elements of school that your child enjoys!
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