From Summer to School: Transitioning Back in to the School Year
Summer to School Transition: Making the change from carefree summer days to the structured weeks of the school year can be difficult for both children and parents. With the new school year right around the bend, here are some tips about how to make the transition a little easier on your family:
- Maintain a positive attitude about the summer coming to an end. Your child may be pretty upset about trading in the pool, video games, and time with friends for classrooms, exams, and homework. It’s important for parents to help in portraying this change as something positive. Remember, your child will likely feed from your emotional energy. Staying positive is important, even though parents will miss the summertime, too. Make “back to school” shopping a fun and exciting experience. Think of an enjoyable (but easy) breakfast for the first day back to school. Help your child reconnect with classroom friends even before school begins.
- Ask about your child’s worries and help them work though those concerns. Help your child brainstorm through ways to handle the things which cause them worry. This is not about solving the problem for them, but about giving them the tools to generate ideas. Build their confidence and understanding that they are able to solve problems.
- Begin restructuring your days at least a week in advance of the first day of school. For the past two months, your child has probably been more loosely regulated on things such as meal times, bed times, and reacting to distractions. Creating consistency in routine before the return to school will help your child be able to sleep better. This could help them be more in control of their impulses in those first days and weeks back in the classroom. We recommend gradually moving back bed times and wake times, in increments as small at 10 or 15 minutes per day, to get kids ready for the upcoming early mornings.
- Get reacquainted with the activities calendar. Begin looking at schedules, family calendars and extracurricular activities calendars with your child. Get them familiar with their new schedule. Focus on who will be home when and what transportation routines will be in place. Clear expectations reduce anxiety and worry.
Other helpful tips for transition from summer to school:
- Have a dedicated homework space
- Create an organized place for backpacks, instruments, sports gear, and other daily school needs
- Remove phones and tablets from bedrooms at night
Know and accept this is a stressful time for many families. One day at a time and things will fall in to place as the school year begins. Creating a climate of preparation can help, and being on board with helping your child through these changes will allow the transition to happen more smoothly.
If you child is having an exceptionally difficult transition from summer to school, please contact New Directions Counseling Services. Our child and family therapists are adept and compassionate about meeting your needs and goals. 724.934.3905