Tips for Transitioning Back to School

Tips for Transitioning Back to School by Encourage Play
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It can be hard to switch from summer living back to the everyday busyness of a school year schedule. For kids who have a hard time with transitions, this can be especially difficult and hard to manage. To make that transition less startling, here are a few tips and resources that you can use.

Adjust sleeping schedules

Start waking and sleeping on the school schedule. If you start a few weeks before, you can move bedtime and waking times up by a few minutes each day to make the shift more gradual. That way, on the first day of school, you won’t be waking them up early for the first time in two months.

Set up visual cues

To make tasks easier to remember, it’s great to have a visual for kids. You can use simple words and pictures, or keep it simpler for younger kids and just have pictures. Make a visual schedule for morning tasks, for after school tasks and for evening tasks. There are some really cool visual schedules you can find using Pinterest or you can make your own. I recommend introducing one schedule at a time, so kids don’t get overwhelmed.

Practice some work time

My daughter has assignments that she needs to complete for school, and so we take time regularly to have her work on those. My son is starting Kindergarten this year so I’ve been having him sit and practice some math and reading during the summer. Sometimes it’s on the computer, sometimes it includes paper and pencils or markers. It’s good to just have some practice sitting and working, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Read every day

Read every day with your kids. Get them involved by including them in the telling of the story through prompts (Ashley from Nurture and Thrive even has a free printable to help with this).

Depending on their reading ability, kids can read to themselves or a little sibling or pet. While they read to themselves, take a few minutes for yourself and read a book for fun (gasp!).

You can also still read to them too. What a soothing activity to do as a wind down to the end of the day.

Plan something fun for the first weekend after school starts

Go to the movies, or to a museum or do something else you’d enjoy as a family. This is a great way to help kids make the connection that just because school has started doesn’t mean fun family time is over.

Limit Activities that start at the beginning of the school year

Don’t schedule too many activities that start at the beginning of the school year. Ease into it if you can. It’s important that kids have some down time during the school year too. If they’re scheduled for something after school every day, that makes it hard for them to have time for some free play.

Here are some books I love about starting school:

For Preschool & Elementary

For Middle School

And here are a few other books to help start the school year off on the right foot.


When do your kids go back to school? What are your tips to help make the transition easier?

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