Easing Back in to the School Season

Easing Back in to the School Season

By. Michelle Mady

As the summer slowly slips away and back to school supplies fill the seasonal sections of every store, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the change. I think the transition back to school every year is the hardest one, not only for children as they enter a new grade with new friends, but for families, too! I happen to be the mom of a rising senior, so I have figured out some of the best ways to prepare your whole family for this big transition.


It might seem obvious, but start transitioning early. Get backpacks and supplies packed weeks in advance. Are your kids on a summer schedule? Pull back bedtime by a few minutes each night to prepare. Wake the children up closer to the time they will need to leave for school each day. Once you are a few days from the first day, start leaving the house at the time you would need to for school. Even if its just a walk around the block or a drive to the post office. Getting in the routine early will help everyone feel more prepared.


If your child is going to have home lunch daily at school, start that early too!  Prepare lunches like you would during the school year before school starts.  My daughter loves strawberries, however no matter how we prepare them, they never hold up to the day in a lunchbox, so we have learned to skip them for school lunches. Sometimes a favorite food just hits different in a lunch box- and a less preferred food is really exciting and different in the cafeteria!


When life is predictable, children feel supported and are able to communicate their needs and concerns more freely. If after school activities and schedules vary day to day, create some predictability within an unpredictable schedule. Post a color coded weekly calendar with pictures of activities each day. If mom does pick up, that is a blue day. And if dance class happens after school, add a picture of a ballerina. Having this visible throughout the week creates a solid ground for children.


Back to school time can be stressful. The supplies, the preparations, the class list and teacher assignments - it’s a lot to wade through. However, when talking about your child’s school or teacher, keep it optimistic and light. Even showing frustration over school supplies can cause your child to become unsure about school in general. Keep it positive and exciting for a smooth transition.

Back to school time can be stressful. The supplies, the preparations, the class list and teacher assignments - it’s a lot to wade through.


A school day can be really tiring for children, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Keeping it together, following the rules, focusing on the work and managing social interactions is a lot!  Set up an after school time for relaxation and connection.  Instead of asking about their day, ask specific questions. “How was school” might elicit a response of “fine." But asking “Tell me something tough/good that happened today” might give you some more insight. Gaining this perspective not only ensures your child feels heard, but it also gives parents information to anticipate any social issues or emotional reassurances your child may need.


About the author: Michelle is a mom of 5 children ranging in age from 5 to 15.  As a toddler and preschool teacher, she shares experiences, activities and guidance to other parents, as both a parent and as a professional early childhood educator, at any stage of their parenting journey.

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