Tackling the Transition Back to School
Can you believe it is almost the end of summer?
Summer is full of sunshine, hot weather, afternoon thunderstorms, and most importantly, no school. But unfortunately, summer is just a season and must come to an end. This end simultaneously results in the beginning of the school year, also known as the dreaded “back to school” season.
Transitions are difficult for everyone involved, especially this transition from summer to the school year. Some families start preparing for this transition early, while some avoid it as long as possible. Rest assured, no transition will be perfect, but here are some quick tips to keep in mind during your “back to school” season.
Talk about it
So often we avoid topics that may cause anxiety or conflict. In this case, reminding your kids that they must go back to school soon can increase their anxiety, and maybe even make them irritable. So, it makes sense to just avoid the topic all together. However, talking about going back to school a few weeks before summer is over can actually help the transition go a little smoother.
Going back to school certainly does not need to be the main topic of conversation at the dinner table. However, mentioning it throughout the day by saying something like, “this would be so fun to do in the afternoons after school” or “in a few weeks you’ll get to see your friend every day at school!” can help kids remember that school is coming in the near future. Bringing the topic of school back into the daily conversation can normalize going back into the classroom.
Create a routine
Routines often go “out the window” over summer break, leaving more time for fun, yay! Unfortunately, getting back into a routine when school starts can be very difficult and add more stress to an already stressful time. To make this transition less stressful, spend some time brainstorming a routine that works for you and your family ahead of time. Maybe even invite the kids and or other family members to help create the routine, allowing them to have some autonomy in how they spend their time.
Then, slowly incorporate this routine into daily life. This could simply be changing the morning alarm in preparation for school over a few weeks instead of abruptly the morning of the first day of school. Maybe also change bedtime slowly over a period of time in preparation for the school schedule. Slowly shifting back into a routine can help kids and families get “back in the groove” before school even starts!
Every summer it feels like the school year creeps up much faster than expected. So, starting to prepare for the transition back to school early will be most helpful for adults and kids alike. Start bringing the topic of school back into the conversation, create a routine, and gradually get back into the “groove” a few weeks before the first day.
There is no doubt this transition is difficult, but remember, it will not last forever. Bulk up on some self-care activities for you and your other family members during this season, because stress may be higher than normal. Maybe even have a fun activity planned a few weeks into the school year as something to look forward to, both for adults and kids!