Summer vacation is wrapping up, and most school-age children are returning to the classroom and to the school year structures and routines this month. Help your child’s transition back to school run more smoothly with a bit of preparation and intentionality!

Take Steps to Prepare for the New School Year

Start your family back on a routine. Now is the time to incrementally adjust bedtimes if needed. Involve your child in back to school shopping. This gives them ownership of the process and helps you both mentally prepare for the big day. Take advantage of any opportunities to visit the school and meet the teacher(s) if possible. Look for open houses, schedule and technology pick-up days, and other opportunities to connect with your school.

Talk to Your Child About How They are Feeling About Returning to School

Back-to-school time can bring with it lots of anxiety for your children. Acknowledge their fears and reservations and have conversations with them to help them mitigate their fears. They are probably also feeling excited about seeing their friends and returning to a routine, so encourage them to focus on the positive. Once you get your child’s schedule, help them plan out their day, map their routes to each class, and help them anticipate any roadblocks or challenges in their day.

Watch For Changes in Their Behavior.

You may notice changes in your child’s behaviors when school starts as they get used to new routines and structure. Plan to provide more downtime as they adjust to school. Perhaps plan a short vacation, a trip to the park, or a day at the movies-do something special as a family to celebrate the start of the new school year. Involve your child in deciding what to do.

Review Your Own Self-Care

While your kids may be busy and anxious, back-to-school can be a hectic time for YOU as well. Make sure to plan to take care of yourself during this busy time. Are you getting enough sleep? Physical exercise? Time in nature? Do you have time for fun and play? What is one way you can help reduce your stress today?