The best way to ease the back-to-school transition

By Bob Cunningham, EdM on Jul 07, 2021

Getting kids ready to go back to school is not always an easy task. And when you think about it, why would it be?

Back-to-school transitions can be really tough for kids. And chances are this upcoming school year will be even tougher. For many kids, going back to school will mean going back to the classroom for the first time since the pandemic began.

Starting a new school year can be scary, especially if kids haven’t been in a school building for a long time. But the key is to help make this transition smooth and gentle. If you’re not feeling prepared for the upcoming school year, don’t panic. Don’t lose hope. I’ve shared lots of ideas with families and teachers over the years. Here are some of the suggestions they’ve found most helpful:

  • Keep the summer fun going. Plan at least one activity for the first week of school.
  • Allow more downtime with the TV or computer after school than you usually will during the school year. Then gradually reduce or eliminate screen time once school really gets underway.
  • Keep the schedule clear. Try not to make any extra plans or appointments for the first two weeks of school, so kids can relax after school.
  • Be present as much as possible for at least the first week. This way you can set up school-day routines gradually instead of all at once.
  • Let kids stay up a little later the first week of school. In the second and third weeks, begin moving to an earlier sleep schedule.
  • Stress the importance of breakfast. Eating before school will give kids energy to start their day.

Returning to school can be exciting, stressful, and exhausting all at the same time. Some kids might need a little more time to adjust. If getting back into the school groove isn’t working out well, tackle things gradually. Keep some of the summer fun alive and give enough downtime.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.