Transitioning from Summer to School

For many parents, back to school is bittersweet. Parents can often reclaim a little "me" time, but that ends quickly with the return of homework, assignments, practices, and all other obligations related to school.  Here are several tips to help that transition be easier.

Ease back into scheduled days. 

To ease the transition, about a week or two before the first day of school, start their bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track. Discourage TV and encourage board games, puzzles, and reading before bed. Offer meals at more regular times during the day.

Get back to healthy eating. 

Start integrating healthier items into your snacks and meals, and stock your freezer with healthy options for breakfast – ziplocks with chunks of frozen fruit for smoothies, quesadillas cooked, cut and frozen, and breakfast burritos. Stock your pantry with nuts, dried fruit, healthy whole grain crackers and your fridge with low sugar yoghurts, low fat cheeses, and healthy proteins. Freeze a few healthy meals in the event you run late and want to keep the family on track (and avoid the fast food trap).

Anticipate and address your child’s anxiety and manage your own. 

Have a few school mates over before school starts so socially your child eases back in…and chat up your own positive experiences about school.

Review the student handbook.

Know policies and procedures, and dress code, and shop accordingly.


Make sure annual physical exam is done, forms filled out, vaccines are up to date, and any meds/forms for sports, or meds at school filled and ready. Place all in a folder, ready to go. Make copies of your child’s forms and vaccine record in case they are lost.

Buy supplies early.

Check with school if any unique supplies needed for your child’s grade.  Fill and organize your child’s backpack with him, decide where it should be kept for pickup in the morning.

Bring out the fall clothes.

Make repairs, adjust hems, polish shoes, and clean all and organize. Toss outgrown clothing, and organize a couple of drawers for school clothing only. Have your child put together a few outfits and fold them together in that drawer.

Carve out a study area.

This spot needs to be free of clutter, distraction or media. Stock it with school supplies, a good light, and even earplugs or headphones to minimize noise.

Make a test run to school.

Especially if it’s a new school – plan your route and an alternate. Visit school with your child, map out the classroom, gym, bathrooms, cubbies, lockers, etc….then your child can navigate day 1 with more confidence.

Start a school year calendar.

Fill in dates for field trips, school events, family obligations, vacations, sports and activity practices. Knowing what is coming up is essential for the family to stay organized and plan some free time.

Establish a tradition for Day 1 that your child looks forward to.

Whether it’s taking a photo in front of the door (as we did), to breakfast at a local diner, or dinner out, make “Day 1” something your child looks forward to!

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