Back to School Time: 10 Tips for a Smooth Transition

As your kids head back to school, your goal should be to create a smooth transition during this time. Heading back to school is a time full of worries and excitement for kids, and making this experience a positive one encourages your child to like and enjoy school.

After a summer of fun, I love when my kids go back to school.

Yes, I love a few precious hours of alone time, but more than that, I love the excitement that my kids have at school. They learn and have fun with their friends, and that’s something that makes me happy FOR them.

It’s a great time for little kids!

Since I want school to be a positive experience for my kids, creating a smooth transition back to school after summer has always been a priority for me. I don’t expect my kids to go from relaxed, summer-break mode to strict school mode overnight.

I can’t even transition that fast!

Here are some of my best tips for sending your kids back to school smoothly and with fewer tears.

10 Tips for a Smooth Transition Back to School

1. Understand Current Safety Protocols

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, and one of those is the safety protocols that schools set for kids.

Right now, every state and locality has its own rules and regulations about safety and cleanliness, but it’s important for kids to understand these before heading back to school.

Masking is perhaps the biggest protocol that your child will face during school time. Find out if masking is required at your school district, and if it is, you need to practice wearing masks for several weeks ahead of time.

This is also a great time to work on handwashing skills if you haven’t done so yet.

Last year, my son lost so many masks within the first few weeks, so this year, I grabbed mask lanyards to prevent that.

This 8-pack of mask lanyards by Teskyer is perfect for your kids as they head back to school.

2. Start Waking Your Kids Up Earlier

I often let my kids sleep as long as they want to in the summer, but that doesn’t work for school time when your child needs to be up by 7 AM or earlier to get to school.

If you let your kids sleep in during the summer, start waking them up earlier two to three weeks before school begins. You want this to be a gradual process to have a smooth transition back to school.

Try giving your child their own alarm clock. We use the TooTa Store Kids Digital Alarm with seven different colors and temperature detection. My kids love theirs!

3. Make a Back-to-School Routine

I’m a big believer in routines for kids; they help with nearly everything. Creating a back-to-school routine will make a smooth transition.

What should you include in your routine? Here are a few ideas.

  • Adjusting wake up and bedtimes
  • Picking out clothes for school
  • Preparing lunches
  • Eating healthy breakfasts
  • Picking homework time
  • Making sure they have plenty of time to rest and play

A school routine gives structure to the day and helps your child know what comes next. Kids love routines; it creates predictability and stability in their day.

You can always create a chart or a checklist to help your child know what comes next in their routine.

Check out my FREE checklist here!


4. Keep Consistent Bed and Wake-Up Times

Ensuring your children receive healthy amounts of sleep sets your child up for success at school. A sleepy child won’t be able to pay attention and focus on the tasks at hand unless they have the proper amounts of sleep.

Kids who are 5-13 years old need 9-11 hours of sleep per night, and teens 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep.

Summertime often means relaxed sleep schedules, but in the weeks before school goes back in session, you need to put your kids on a consistent bedtime and wake-up time schedule.

Start a consistent sleep schedule at least two weeks before school begins to give your child time to adjust.

5. Talk about Going Back to School with Your Kids

Kids have a lot of questions when they go back to school, especially after this pandemic and all of the unknowns. It’s normal for your children to have concerns, and if you want a smooth transition, talk openly.

Some common questions that kids have about going back to school include:

  • How will I make friends?
  • Who is my teacher?
  • Where is my classroom?
  • Where do I catch the bus?
  • Who do I talk to if I need help?

6. Create a Place for Everything

Having school organization is part of the key to a smooth transition when going back to school. Kids need to know where things go, and it’s best to create habits early. Teach your kids to hang up their coats, put their shoes away, and hang their backpacks as soon as they get in the home.

It makes everything so much easier; your family won’t spend ages searching for the missing shoe or backpack. I can’t tell you how many times I used to be late because one shoe would be suspiciously missing while its matching partner was right where it belonged.

7. Tame Your Family Calendar

Transitioning from summer to school time is more than getting up earlier and spending time at school. Our evenings change as well with sports practices, gymnastic lessons, and more.

Kids go from plenty of time to play and relax to feeling like they are always busy. My kids feel overwhelmed during this period, so taming the schedule is important. Now isn’t the time to organize or plan too much.

Truthfully, it’s an easy way for you to feel burned out and overwhelmed by the drastic changes. I imagine kids feel very similar!

8. Tour The School and Classroom

One way to ease your child’s concerns or anxiety about going to school, especially for young kids or kids switching schools, is to tour the school and classroom ahead of time. Most schools allow this and set up days when families come to visit.

Going into a brand new place is intimidating for young kids, and they have to go without their parents. That’s scary, and we want to reduce tears on the first day of school. Taking a tour of their classroom and talking about it after is a great way to knock out those fears and get your child excited for the first day of school.

9. Say No to Technology in the Morning

Here’s something else to start a few weeks before school begins – say no to technology in the morning.

During the summer, watching the iPad while eating breakfast is no big deal, but when you have to get to school at a specific time, it will eat up valuable minutes. Kids take much longer to complete tasks when they have the TV on or watching their iPads.

Your kids need time to adjust to this, so start before the first day of school, and expect a lot of whining and asking when they can have their tech. I suggest none before school, leaving it as a treat or incentive for a good day at school.

10. Wake Up Before Your Kids

I feel like this is the one piece of advice that no one wants to hear, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom and don’t need to get up for work.

Waking up before your kids makes a huge difference in your day as a mother. It gives you time to drink a cup of coffee, pack lunches, and start breakfast. That means you can enjoy the morning with your kids rather than running around like a crazy person.

Head Back to School with Ease

Using these tips for a smooth transition back to school is a great way to start the year off right for your kids. From getting enough sleep to staying organized, these tips will ease fears and help your kids adjust after a fun, carefree summer.

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