Transitioning Back to School With Ease
This post was first published on wfmchealth.org.
We know it’s hard to believe, but the new school year is almost here. The beginning of school can be hectic–and sometimes emotional–for both parents and children, but we have seven tips to make the back-to-school transition easier for everyone.
Talk positively about school starting
Children pay attention to emotions and behavior. Your child will likely see how you react to the upcoming school year, so try to keep it positive! Start talking about school a few weeks before their first day so it doesn’t come up suddenly. Doing this can open the door for any conversations your child might want to have about school, especially if there is any fear or negativity surrounding the subject. Use this opportunity to reassure your child and support them during the transition into a new grade.
Start an early-to-bed schedule
Summer schedules often include waking up and going to bed later than usual. When school starts in the fall, it can be hard to get back into a regular routine right away. A school-oriented sleep schedule, as well as a plan to get your child out the door by a certain time, should be well established before school starts. Children under the age of 12 should be getting 10-12 hours of sleep per night.
Read before bed
It’s important to ease your child back into a school mindset. If they are not already doing any summer reading, start having them read before bed or read to them. This small step can make a big difference when your child goes back to school.
Visit your child’s pediatrician for a back-to-school check-up
Before school starts, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider and bring your child in for a check-up. It’s important to make sure your child is healthy and up-to-date on any immunizations or physicals they might need for the upcoming year. You can count on us to listen to you and your child, offer practical advice, and work with you to deliver exceptional pediatric health care.
Keep your child involved
Keeping your child involved with back-to-school planning can help them be excited for their first day. Let them pick out a new school supply in the store, organize their backpack with you, or be involved in choosing their outfit. You can use this time to encourage your child or answer any questions they might have about the upcoming year.
The new school year often comes with new friends, after-school playdates, sports, and homework. Transitioning back to school after a summer of fun can result in quick burnout for your child (and for you!). Take the first few weeks slow and listen if your child says they are tired.
Finally, stay connected with your child during the school year! Check in with them regularly to see how they are doing. Set aside time daily to spend time with them. If something negative is happening at school, your child might say it through tantrums or bad behavior; try to respond warmly and allow your child to tell you what they’re upset about. Transitioning back to school can be fun, exciting, or scary, but at the end of the day, it is a team effort.