smiling girl, first day of school, getting on school bus, back to school transition

The back-to-school transition after summer break is a yearly reality but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It can be both exciting and stressful for all involved.

On one hand, oodles of new opportunities stretch out before you and your child. On the other, that involves change for the both of you—sometimes big-time transitions.

For you and your child, there are some things you’re looking forward to and some you aren’t as the start date approaches.

You want to minimize stress and maximize the potential for success. But, how do you do that?

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Mentally Prepare Yourself to Go Back to School

The back-to-school transition is significant for you as the parent, too. Recognizing that fact is half the battle.

Your schedule will change, the times you interact with your child will become different and the way you parent will need some adjusting.

This means preparing yourself now to be ready for that change. Often, parents don’t give enough thought that the back-to-school event can be taxing on them, too.

You worry that your child could struggle academically, get pulled into the wrong crowd, may not click well with teachers or be bullied among a myriad of other concerns. The strain of a different schedule is shared by you and your child as well.

You may not be heading to school like your child is, but a big part of your heart is going with them.

Preparing yourself for the change first is the best way you can help your child get ready.

Think of the things that personally stress you out most about this transition and work through them. That could mean communicating with your child, significant other or a licensed professional. You can work together to either eliminate or lessen stress points.

Gradually implementing earlier bedtimes helps as well. Try shifting to earlier bedtimes by ten minutes each day so your stress levels are lower once school kicks into full gear.

Your first aim is to make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming transition. If you are, there’s a much better chance that your child will be, too.

While Transitioning Back to School, Keep Things Positive

Now that you’ve figured out how to better manage your stress, you’ll be ready to take things one step further.

Foster a positive attitude about your child’s back-to-school transition.

Avoid saying things like, “I’m not looking forward to school starting again. I wish there was more summer.” That particular phrase may not be your hang-up point but there are likely others.

Maybe it’s the disruption these changes cause to your schedule or perhaps you’re tempted to communicate doubt about how well-prepared your child is for the new school year.

Resist any temptation to verbalize these negative feelings to your child. Your child is likely already struggling with some negative internal dialogue of some kind.

By keeping things positive yet realistic, you can keep your stress levels down and teach your child how to be positive. You can model for your child how to handle life transitions in a healthy way even though they’re not always easy.

The truth is that everything in life becomes easier with a positive attitude. If you’re not used to expressing a positive attitude as a parent, the great thing is that you can change. When it comes down to it, positivity is nothing more than a choice.

Be Patient with Your Child During the Back-to-School Transition Process

Despite your best efforts to prepare, you’re bound to have some frazzled moments this year.

One common one is your child not being ready in time for school or having to rush. This can be a challenge for everyone in the household.

Find ways to calmly deal with these moments instead of raising your voice in anger.

Also, those first few weeks are tough for the most well-adjusted kids. It’s a significant change and will take time for things to run smoothly again.

Your child may struggle for a few weeks, but they’ll likely fall into a routine.

Remember, if your child is struggling, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is cause for alarm. Struggle is a normal part of any transition. It’s just a matter of learning how to turn the corner as quickly as possible.

In conclusion, The American Psychological Association and Mary Alvord, PhD. have this to share in their article, “Dealing with the back-to-school blues?”

“Fortunately, children are extremely capable of coping with change and parents can help them in the process by providing a setting that fosters resilience and encourages them to share and express their feelings about returning to school.”

Is It Time to Schedule an Appointment?

Do you or your child need some extra support as you head into the new school year? Our team at Valencia Relationship Institute can help you. We’re also here for you if the back-to-school transition becomes difficult later on.

Our team offers evidence-based methods to ensure that you reach your greatest potential. Scheduling an appointment at our Santa Clarita counseling center is quick and easy. We look forward to interacting with you.