How to Prepare Students for the Back-to-School Transition

The transition back to school after the summer holidays is never easy. Students often struggle to adjust to early mornings and homework as well as new schedules, teachers and classmates. 

When children are tired and unfocused the first weeks back can feel overwhelming. The last thing you want is for your child to start the new school year on the wrong foot.  

These tips will help make the back to school transition smoother for the family and set your student up for a positive year of learning. 

Re-establish a bedtime routine 

If your child has been going to bed later during the holidays, it’s a good idea to re-establish their bedtime routine in the last week of the holidays. Students who get into a normal sleeping pattern before school returns will struggle less with early morning starts. To help your child get back into the routine, arrange some fun activities in the mornings as an incentive. The more physically active they are during the day, the easier they will find it to go to bed at the right time.  

Set your expectations early 

Don’t wait until school goes back to set your expectations for the year ahead. In the last weeks of the holidays establish a list of tasks your child needs to do on school days, such as getting dressed, making their bed, completing homework and packing their bag for the next day. Ask your child to help you write the list to get them thinking about the transition back to school. Display the list on the fridge or some other prominent place so your student has time to get used to it. The goal is to create independent children who can take responsibility for themselves. 

Declutter and get organised 

The end of the summer holidays is the perfect time to clean up and re-organise in preparation for a fresh school year. Give your child’s room a thorough de-cluttering by getting rid of any toys, clothes and other items that are no longer needed. Establish a homework area and a reading nook to get your student motivated and excited about the year ahead. Allow them to pick some posters and stationery to decorate their desk as this will give them a sense of ownership over their space. Ensure you’ve purchased their uniform and other essential items well before the end of the holidays to avoid last-minute dashes to the shops.

Manage your child’s anxiety

It’s not surprising that anxiety levels for students peak at the start of a new school year. You can help ease your child’s anxiety by allowing them to talk about how they are feeling and listening in a non-judgemental way. It’s fine to gently remind them of all the positive things about school, but don’t invalidate their emotions. If your child hasn’t had much contact with school friends over the break, arrange some playdates in the last weeks of the holidays. If they are starting at a new school make sure they have a buddy to show them around on the first day. Relaxation techniques can also be very helpful.

Planning ahead will make the back-to-school transition much smoother for your child.