5 Ways to Ease the Back-to-School Transition

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Another school year is gearing up across the country, and along with new books and backpacks, a new fall routine is in store for students and parents alike. After a few months of summertime schedules, children, teens, and even some adults, have trouble adjusting to the demands of the new school year. Take into consideration the following five suggestions to help your family transition into back-to-school mode with minimal drama:

1. Preparation



Have you ever spent 15 minutes searching for a missing shoe in the morning? Preparation and planning ahead are key elements to a smooth back-to-school transition. Use an hour or two of weekend time to organize and package lunch items, coordinate clothing, and gather up supplies for the upcoming week. Your Monday-morning self will thank you! Try using a hanging shoe organizer in your pantry like this mom did for quick-grab treats. Save money and time by buying in bulk and bagging fruit, chips and crackers for lunches. A day-of-the-week clothes rack can also help you and your student prepare to get out of the door on time every morning.

2. Sleep



Experts recommend about nine (9) hours of sleep for school-aged children, which can be a challenge with busy schedules, homework, and commutes. Setting up a regular bedtime routine (teeth-brushing, a hot bath, storytime, etc.) is a great way to encourage positive sleeping habits. Removing distractions such as phones, television, and video games from your child’s room can also help encourage them to rest. Paying attention to your child’s sleep preferences, and creating a comfortable sleeping space is important. Some children prefer black-out curtains, while some need a nightlight to feel comfortable. A fan, sound machine, or soft music may help other children drift off to dreamland.

3. Nutrition



Keep in mind the old adage “you are what you eat” when choosing your student’s fall menu! Replace packaged and processed snacks with fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts to encourage healthy eating. Starting the day with a protein-packed breakfast will keep your child satisfied and alert in the mornings, and packing a light and healthy lunch will round out their school day. Send a water bottle to school to keep students hydrated throughout the day. For students who eat school lunch, scope out the menu ahead of time and discuss healthy choices with your child.

4. Communication



Open communication should be practiced year-round, but is especially important at school time. Remember to set aside a moment to discuss the day’s events with your child. It may be like pulling teeth to get anything other than an “it was fine” out of them, but your student will appreciate your interest. Likewise, keep an open line of communication with your child’s teachers, and don’t be afraid to call or email when questions or issues arise. Many teachers cite parent involvement as one of the biggest factors in student success.

5. Downtime



Finally, don’t forget to take some downtime! This is important for parents and children alike. Between classes, sports, clubs, and other obligations, there is little quiet time during the school year. It is imperative, however, to take some time to unwind and unplug as a family. Whether it’s a dinner without smart phones, a dance party in the kitchen, or a short walk around the block – be sure to encourage a moment of fun and relaxation every day. Stress levels in students have skyrocketed in recent years thanks to over-scheduling and over-stimulation. Even 30 minutes of downtime can make a big difference in the health and happiness of your child.

Times of transition can be tough for everyone, but back-to-school time doesn’t have to turn your world upside down. A little preparation and organization can go a long way in making this school year a positive and productive time for the entire family!