Brian Dryer MSW, LCSW
Anticipate and address your child’s anxiety. Talk with your children about new experiences and traditions, from using the potty at preschool to learning how to use a locker “in a playful and creative, role-playing way,”
Manage your own anxiety. Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending. If you are nervous about school starting, then your child is certainly going to be nervous about school starting
Ease back into scheduled days. To ease the transition, about a week before the first day of school, start their bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track.
Stay connected to nature. Make a habit of getting outside together after the school day ends, for as long as the warm weather lasts. When the air turns cold, hold a “camp-in” weekend evening.
Get back to healthy eating. The arrival of fall is a perfect time to teach your kids that family-focused healthy eating can be fun too. Be prepared with healthy snacks and meals when things get hectic, such as in the morning before school, when kids come home from school, and before dinner.
Seek out one-on-one time with your child every day. Challenge yourself to set aside just 15 minutes per day, per child, to enjoy a quiet activity together.
Battling the Butterflies To help ease back-to-school butterflies, try to transition kids into a consistent school-night routine a few weeks before school starts. Also make sure that they:
• get enough sleep (establish a reasonable bedtime so that they’ll be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning)
• eat a healthy breakfast (they’re more alert and do better in school if they eat a good breakfast every day)
• write down the need-to-know info to help them remember details such as their locker combination, what time classes and lunch start and end, their homeroom and classroom numbers, teachers’ and/or bus drivers’ names, etc.
• use a wall calendar or personal planner to record when assignments are due, tests will be given, extracurricular practices and rehearsals will be held, etc.
• have them organize and set out what they need the night before (homework and books should be put in their backpacks by the door and clothes should be laid out in their bedrooms
Helping Homework Love it or hate it, homework is a very important part of school. To help kids get back into the scholastic swing of things:
• Make sure there’s a quiet place that’s free of distractions to do homework.
• Don’t let kids watch TV when doing homework or studying. Set rules for when homework and studying need to be done, and when the TV can be turned on and should be turned off. The less TV, the better, especially on school nights.
• If your kids are involved in social media, be sure to limit the time spent on these activities during homework time.
• Keep text messaging to a minimum to avoid frequent interruptions.
• Never do their homework or projects yourself. Instead, make it clear that you’re always available to help or answer any questions.
• Review homework assignments nightly, not necessarily to check up, but to make sure they understand everything.
Encourage kids to:
• develop good work habits from the get-go, like taking notes, writing down assignments, and turning in homework on time
• take their time with schoolwork
• ask the teacher if they don’t understand something
To ensure kids get the most out of school, maintain an open channel of communication with the teachers by e-mailing or talking with them throughout the school year to discuss your kids’ academic strengths as well as weaknesses.
In a National Center for Early Development and Learning project, more transition activities were associated with all of the following child outcomes at the beginning of kindergarten:
–Greater frustration tolerance
–Better social skills
–Fewer conduct problems
–Fewer learning problems
–More positive approaches to learning
Transition activities were most helpful for children from disadvantaged families
Transitioning Back To School