OT Clinical Services

Transition Time: Back2School

Starting a new school year can be stressful for all members of the household. While the return to school will be exciting for some students (and maybe a welcome change for parents), others may be feeling anxious or frightened about heading to school for possibly the first time or attending a new school. Here are some tips to help you handle the back-to-school transition, navigate those emotions your children may be experiencing, and resources for tackling the transition!

Whether your child will be learning onsite at school, learning remotely, or a hybrid model, starting the school year off on a good note will help influence your child’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically. The degree of adjustment depends on the child, parents can help their children (and the rest of the family) manage the increased pace of life by planning ahead, being realistic, and implementing a few back-to-school habits.

  • Re-establish routines
    Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast). Prepare your child for this change by talking with them about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming overtired or overwhelmed by school work and activities. Include pre-bedtime reading and household chores that may have been suspended during the summer.
  • Create a family calendar
    Utilize a shared electronic calendar to make a note of important back-to-school dates. This is especially important if you have more than one child and need to juggle additional obligations or family activities. Even creating a monthly paper calendar to hang on the refrigerator or common space could help children learn to follow the calendar as well.
  • Define a clear place to do homework
    It’s important to create a routine spot for children to complete their school work, younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen to facilitate adult monitoring, supervision, and encouragement. Older children could use a home office or have the option of studying in another quiet area of the house.
  • Leave plenty of extra time
    Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast and prepare for school. Remember, change can take time and their routine may have been very different over the last few months. Also, mishaps occur – allow for extra time; rushing can create more anxiety in a high-stress situation.
  • Focus on the positives
    It’s important to start the transition back to school by focusing on the positives; being able to see their friends and teachers, the excitement around new daily routines, and the opportunity to learn new things. Parents, help your child(ren) focus on the things they might be looking forward to by asking them questions like, “What are you looking forward to on your first day of school?” or “What have you missed about school?” Once school starts, you can ask: “What was the best thing that happened today?”

We hope that all students, teachers, school administrators, and parents have a great 2022/2023 school year!