Author: Lea Zweig, Psy.D.

Topics in Child and Adolescent Psychology: Back to SchoolIt’s that time of year again: summer is over and children are headed back to school. Here are some tips for starting the school year on a positive note and helping your children transition back to school life.

Meet your kid’s teachers and tour the school. 

This will help you visualize where your children are during the day and help you better understand your children when they want to discuss what happened at school.  It is good to know your children’s teacher(s) so that you can better support your children if they need assistance communicating with or working with their teachers.

Set up a schedule early.

A few weeks before the first day of school, start a schedule or routine that will continue throughout the school year. This may include bedtimes, wake times, snack times, etc. This schedule will help smooth the transition from summer to the first day of school.  Consistency is important for children.

Set up after school activities.

Children thrive when they experience a well-rounded schedule.  When children participate in extracurricular activities, they have more opportunities to build friendships as well as develop their passions and interests.

Family meetings.

Set up a regularly scheduled family meeting to discuss school, extracurricular activities, other home responsibilities, your children’s progress, and what you can do to help them be successful.

Plan family time.

Don’t forget to set up family time in your schedule.  It can be dinnertime or an activity you like in which you interact together (not watching television).  Let your children choose an activity; it will help them feel involved in scheduling their week.

Homework time.

It can be helpful for children to have a set time after school to complete their homework, as well as having an area to do their homework.  Some assignments will require parents’ help.  Set aside time to complete these assignments with your child. These routines will help your child be successful by removing any distractions and sitting in a comfortable place.  Try to make homework area away from sleep or play space.  This can help improve focus.

Supply run.

Some schools will provide a list of supplies your child needs for school.  A lot of kids worry about what they will wear for the first day of school and if they have everything they need.  It can relieve their anxiety by helping them get ready for the first week of school in advance.

Both children and parents experience worry and stress when starting a new school year.  The important theme to take away is to prepare early.  It also helps to start a discussion with your children about their feelings regarding the new school year and any worries they might have about the next grade.  If you feel your child is experiencing more emotional stress than you would expect, reach out to a child psychologist for a consultation to determine what you can do to support your child through this transition.