Back to School: Tips for Transitioning from Summer Break

For many, summer break ended a few weeks ago. For others, the day after Labor Day marks the first day of the new school year. Either way, heading back to the classroom after a long summer vacation filled with lazy days and fun adventures can be challenging. Returning to school is a big adjustment for many students physically, mentally, and emotionally. Below, you will find tips to help children transition from summer break into a happy and productive school year.

Adjust your schedule

Summer bedtimes tend to be lax, followed by sleeping and taking our time when we wake up. It’s important to ease back into your new routine. Start by putting your child to sleep closer to their school bedtime. If needed, chat with your pediatrician about appropriate sleep times for children. A good night’s sleep will provide many benefits for the school day, including increased attention and focus.

Read each day

Reading is crucial to academic performance, regardless of your child’s age. If you haven’t been reading all summer, it’s not too late to start. Read out loud to your child, or depending on their age, have them read to you. Have your child share what they read to you and work on their reading comprehension. For example, ask them to describe what is happening or who the characters are.

Maintain family time

Just because school is starting doesn’t mean you will not be able to enjoy family time. Even when their after-school activities are in full swing, it’s essential to set aside time each day to spend together as a family. Whether this means gathering around the dinner table and sharing aspects of your day by reading a book or playing a card game before bed, this time is very important for your family.

Discuss potential anxiety

For many children, returning to school can cause increased stress and anxiety. From managing the lingering impact of Covid to meeting new people and having a new teacher/class schedule, it’s essential to create a safe space for your children to speak freely about their fears.

Set sustainable academic goals

While it’s important to have academic goals, they should be set based on a child’s abilities. Expecting a child who is consistently a B or C student to become a straight A student probably isn’t realistic. However, you can challenge your child to push beyond their comfort zone, such as earning all B’s in the first term. Establishing milestones that ladder up to larger, longer-term goals empowers your child to build self-esteem, stay motivated, and celebrate their progress.

Focus on organization

Modeling good organizational skills can help your child develop good habits which they can incorporate into their school-related responsibilities. This may be a specific place for young children to store their book bags when they get home from school. Older students can benefit from making and completing a to-do list and creating a calendar to manage their school responsibilities.

Encourage participation

For children less enthusiastic about returning to school, encourage them to explore their interests through school activities, clubs, and social events. Treat the new school year as an opportunity to explore what the school offers and what your child might be interested in. These non-academic settings can help your child develop relationships with peers, increase self-esteem, and make them feel more connected to their school community.

Foster positive thinking

A new year, new classmates and a new teacher can produce a lot of questions from children. As adults, we also become anxious about school. Children often overhear our phone conversations, dinner table concerns, and backyard chats. Be mindful of what you are saying when little ears are listening. Set your child up for success to welcome the new school year and new friends and to be ready for school with a positive outlook and growth mindset.

If your child is struggling with adjusting to the new school routine, the mental health professionals at Cypress can help. We work with children, teens, adults, and families to help you live a life where happiness and fulfillment are the focus. Contact a member of our team to learn more.