Summer vacation is wrapping up, and most school-age children are returning to the classroom this month. Help your child’s transition back to school be a smooth one with a little advanced preparation!

Reestablish School Year Routines

• Shift to an earlier bedtime. If your child has been going to bed later for the summer, take some time to slowly shift to an earlier bedtime and earlier waking time in the a.m. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
10-13 hours of sleep for 3 – 5 year-olds (including naps), 9-12 hours for 6 – 12 year-olds, and 8-10 hours of sleep for 13 – 18 year-olds.
• Designate a homework spot where your child will do their homework. Have materials your child will need to do their homework on hand nearby.
• If screen time has crept up over the summer, the start of the school year is a good time to cut back on screen time, so your child will have adequate time for homework, physical activity, family time, and sleep.

• Do a practice run of your weekday routine. This will help prepare everyone for how much time they need to get ready in the a.m. and help make sure everyone has everything they need to get the year started on the right foot!
• Read aloud to your young child, have older children read to you or on their own.

Managing Back to School Jitters

• Talk to your child about how they are feeling. Be supportive and normalize that
everyone feels nervous at the start of a new school year.
• When possible, tour their new classroom and meet the teacher before the first day of school.
• Schedule a meet-up with a friend or small group of friends before the first day back to school.
• Take your child Back to School Shopping. Let them pick out their school supplies and/or a special outfit for the first day.
• Plan a special outing to celebrate the start of the new school year. Visit a park, the zoo, a swimming pool, or go out for a special meal or treat.
• If your child is especially anxious, consider seeking additional support through your child’s school or pediatrician.

Reconnecting

Transition Time: Your child needs time to shift gears from school to home. Some children need time alone in peace and quiet. Others want to talk to you about their day. Allow time for your child to decompress in whatever way best suits them before starting homework or heading to an activity.
Time In: As life gets busier, make one on one time with your child a priority. 5 minutes a day of focused attention helps build a strong connection. Let your child choose what you play or what you talk about.
Family Time: When possible, have meals together. Plan other activities together such as a walk after dinner, storytime, or a family outing on the weekend.