5 Tips for a Stress Free Back-to-School Transition
Ah, sweet summertime! S'mores, water play, vacations, camps, and so many other joyful adventures and memories happen during the summer; it is a time for late nights, lazy mornings, and impromptu family outings.
As we walk the aisles of the stores and scroll social media, we are becoming more aware that summer is coming to a close and back-to-school vibes are in the air.
The back-to-school transition is a dance we're all too familiar with, a rhythm that's as much a part of our lives as the changing seasons.
Every year, our hearts flutter with a cocktail of emotions: pride, nervousness, excitement, and a hint of sadness, knowing that another summer of shared adventures have come to an end. It's a scene that replays itself every year, a rite of passage in our journey as parents.
Let's navigate this uncharted school year together, finding joy through play, turning challenges into opportunities, and fears into moments of growth.
This seasonal transition can feel pretty daunting for both parents and kids. But don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are five tips to help make your back-to-school transition go smoothly!
Tip 1: Get Organized
One key to a successful back-to-school transition is getting organized. Start by creating checklists for everything you need.
Having a list from needed school supplies to lunch ideas will ensure you don't miss anything important in the first weeks of school. The last thing any parent needs is to be searching for missing forms or scrambling for school supplies on the first day.
Another great organization tip is to set up routines and areas for supplies and homework. Where will backpacks go? Where are needed supplies for homework kept? When is homework completed (before, during, or after snack/rest/play)? When answering these questions, take into consideration your child's age and abilities. Training and supporting them as they learn new routines is vital for creating stress-free independence.
Having an organized space helps reduce stress and builds independence. Create-A-Space Storage Center is helpful for organizing needed homework supplies or even morning hair accessory items. You can also keep small school supplies, like index cards and crayons, tamed with the Multicolor Toy Organizer Bin. Many of our SafariFans also keep this organizer in the car for first aid items, hair accessories, school supplies, and more!
Tip 2: Set a Schedule
During the lazy days of summer, schedules can be pretty flexible, but once school starts, a good morning routine needs to be established.
Creating and sticking to bedtime, morning routines, and other household schedules help reduce anxiety and keep things running smoothly during the hectic week.
An established bedtime makes the early mornings of back to school easier. As summer comes to a close, it's a good idea to begin easing back into a bedtime schedule. Many parents find that slowly getting back into a school sleep schedule the last weeks of summer works well. You can ease your kids back into an earlier bedtime by backing up their sleep routine 15 min. early each night for a couple of weeks.
Soothing bedtime routines help kids look forward to bedtime. Activities such as a warm bath and bedtime stories are tried and true methods. Grab some new bath supplies and bedtime books to get you going or refresh your current routine.
Tip 3: Meeting Emotional Needs
Heading back to school can bring a rollercoaster of emotions for both kids and parents. Meeting our children's emotional needs makes any transition easier.
During the first weeks of school, pay attention to your child's behavior and emotions. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make sure to talk to them and offer support. Reassure them that it's okay to feel nervous and that you'll be there to help them through it.
Kids communicate through behavior and often relieve stress through play. If your child is acting out or seems extra clingy, they may just want some time and attention. Playing with your kiddo is a wonderful way to help meet some of their emotional needs. We can all sometimes use a little guidance, and so take a load off, we've got some Social-Emotional products that can help.
*Please seek guidance from a medical professional if you have concerns about your child's mental health, extreme anxiety, or depression.
Tip 4: Easing Anxiety
For some kids, school can be an anxiety-inducing place. As a parent, you can help alleviate some of this anxiety by preparing your child for the upcoming school days.
Talk to them about what they can expect and reassure them that you can work together to handle any issues. Keeping fidget toys and other stress-reducing items handy during homework, car rides, or at school (if permitted) can also help ease anxiety. Another way to ease anxiety is to make sure that your kiddos get some down town to just relax and free play. Over scheduling can be very stressful for kids and adults alike.
Tip 5: Let them express themselves
Getting creative is a great way to help children adjust to new changes.
Letting them pick out their own supplies, like backpacks and pencil cases, can help build anticipation for the new year, and give them something to be excited about. Involve your kids in organization and planning, and let them have a say in their school schedules. This will help them to feel empowered and more in control during this new chapter. Some parents and kids like to use behavior tracking tools to set goals and have incentives for achievements.
Back to school time can bring on plenty of stress and anxiety, but it doesn't have to be that way. By following these tips, you can transition your kids back to school smoothly. From organization and scheduling to meeting emotional needs and easing anxiety, parents have control over how they approach back-to-school season. Remember, the most important part of the transition is to stay positive, keep open communication with your child, and be there to support them!
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
National Association of School Psychologists