Tips for an Easy Back-to-School Transition

It's that time of year again - back to school season! Summer's almost over and school bells will ring before you know it. The season almost always sneaks up on us and might seem a bit overwhelming. Some kids are excited, but some might feel uneasy about the ins-and-outs of a new school year.  It's time to get your little ones ready and we're here to help your family make a smooth and easy transition from a laid-back summertime routine to the hustle and bustle of back to school.

Establish Connections

If you have a little one that's nervous about the transition, one good way to get them comfortable about going back to school is by establishing connections. Contact other parents to find out who is in your child's new class. Some schools host a 'Meet the Teacher' night. This is a good opportunity to not only meet your child's new teacher, but to also find out who is in their class. Once you find someone who your child has previously played with or feels comfortable around, set up a play-date. This allows them to reestablish their relationship and become comfortable knowing there will be someone in their class that they can sit with at lunch or play with at recess. 

Stock up on Supplies

Once you've formed connections with classmates, it's time to start thinking about that long list of school supplies. First, do a sweep of the house. If you have yet to clean out your child's backpack, take a look at what they brought home from the previous school year. Put aside anything you think you can reuse and then make a list of everything you need for the upcoming year. Most stores have started back to school sales so you can get what you need at an affordable price. Keep in mind that the dollar store should also be stocked with inexpensive school supplies. It might be a good idea to take your child with you when you go school supply shopping. This will get them excited about school by picking out their own supplies. 

Some parents purchase a new backpack for their child each year, but another idea is to spruce up the backpack that they used last year. You can do this by purchasing a few rolls of Washi or Duct Tape. You might be able to find some at the dollar store. Then let your child decorate their backpack using colorful, glittery tape. You can also visit a craft store and buy some iron on patches. This is another inexpensive and fun idea to make an old backpack feel brand new! 

Establish a Bedtime and Morning Routine

After you've purchased new school supplies and your child has organized them in their new or upgraded backpack, it's important to establish a morning routine. Sit down with your child and have them help you brainstorm tasks that they will complete each morning to prepare themselves for the school day. These can include:

  •  Laying out school clothes the night before
  •  Setting a morning alarm
  •  Waking up
  •  Taking a shower
  •  Getting dressed
  •  Eating breakfast
  •  Brushing teeth
  •  Packing backpacks
  •  Walking to school or to the bus stop

Run through the routine a few days before school starts so your child knows exactly what is expected of them each morning. This will eliminate confusion and help keep your child from getting distracted from what they are supposed to be doing to get ready for school. 

Designate an After School Area

Once you've established a morning routine and run through it a few times, designate areas in your house for coats, shoes, and backpacks. Make sure your child knows where you want them to put their stuff when they get home from school. You should also have a designated area where your child will do their homework each night. Doing homework at a well-lit table or desk in the same place each night, will keep them from getting distracted. 

Allow Yourself Extra Time 

Above all, make sure to start off slow and take it easy on yourself and your child as you all get adjusted to the new routine. Allow yourself extra time each morning, as some mornings might not go as smoothly as expected. Ease into your new schedules and make sure you don't overdo it! 

DOWNLOAD/PRINT A PBS KIDS BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECKLIST!