Easing the Transition from Summer to School
Hard to believe it’s already time to get ready to send the kids back to school. For many area schools, classes begin in the next two weeks. While it may be tempting to let the kids stay up all night on their devices, it’ll only make for a harder transition later (especially for younger kids).
There are a few things you can do now to ease the transition from summer routines to school mode, including making bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier per night.
Slowly transitioning to an earlier bedtime and wake-up time is especially important for adolescents, whose biology naturally steers them toward a later sleep schedule. Secondly, turn off screens an hour or two before bed. Now just know your kids will put up a fight, but the light from the screen will make it harder for them to shut down and go to sleep.
Establishing mealtime routines for lunch and dinner can be helpful as well. I recently saw a post on social media that Kindergarten students who may be packing lunch for the first time need to know how to insert straws into CapriSuns, open bottles or packaging, and know what’s appropriate to return home and what should be thrown away.
Shopping for school supplies and clothes often signals the shift from summer to the new school year and may provide some natural excitement and expectations for what’s to come. If you need to create or change your homework spot in the house, now’s a good time to do so, as well as start supplemental work or games to get young minds and brains back into school mode.
Lastly, I encourage you to have open conversations about coping with anxiety and stress in an age-appropriate manner. School was hard enough before the pandemic, and virtual learning created some real challenges for many students who may find themselves behind academically for the first time. No matter how much you’ve prepared, the first week of school can be stressful. Watch for signs of anxiousness and depression during this transition such as crying, throwing tantrums, aggressive behavior, and sadness.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and spend some extra time with the kids both now and during the first few weeks of school just playing, reading, and cuddling! By making small changes in your schedule now, you can ease the tension and potential behavior issues during the transition from summer to school.