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Tips for Making the Back to School Transition Easier

Updated on August 4, 2013

Back to School Tips

It’s that time of year again; the week where parents rejoice amid their child’s groans and grimaces. No more children wandering aimlessly through their homes surrounded by at least 20 different toys complaining they are bored or have nothing to do. No more summer camp prices and sunburns. You guessed it…it’s back to school! Can’t you just smell the newly sharpened pencils and the see the parents lining up to see who can save five cents on each box of crayons?

There is a palpable energy in the air as the kids and parents make there way to the stores to buy brand new supplies. You can almost feel the student’s nervousness as they wonder who their friends will be and what will their teacher be like? As both a parent and a teacher, there are many reasons why I look forward to this time of year including the reasons mentioned above. I have learned that there are a few simple things that make the transition from summer back to school easier on you and your children.



First and foremost, always be prepared. Don’t run out the night before school starts to buy all the school supplies. You will find yourself out with all the other procrastinators pawing through whatever supplies happened to be left over possibly causing you to not find all the supplies your child needs. There will always be that one random supply that the teacher finds necessary to specify a certain brand that takes going to 10 different stores to find. And yes while it seems like a major inconvenience to find these items the teacher has been through trial and error to find out which supplies are better than others. Running around last minute causes you unnecessary stress which your child then picks up on. So, unless you want to be sharpening pencils at midnight the night before filling your own house with the freshly sharpened pencil smell, be prepared.

Be prepared the morning of. Don’t wait until last minute to make lunches and pick out clothes the morning of. Take time the night before and have your child help you pick out the outfit they want to wear so in the morning it doesn’t become a battle. Also, make sure you have food for lunches in the house and ready to go. No child wants some dry cereal and raisins because that was all that was left in the house. There are many great pins on Pinterest with great, healthy lunch ideas.

Secondly, take the time to talk to the teacher and ask any questions you may have. It will make you feel better knowing you are leaving your child in qualified hands. Also, if you are financially able, ask the teacher if there is anything else they need and then go get it. There are always supplies that a teacher ends up buying with their own money. As a teacher, this gesture is so appreciated and helpful to any classroom. You can’t go wrong with a gift card to Target or any other teacher oriented store such as Lakeshore Learning. Hint hint: it may even make the teacher look more kindly on your child, at least in the beginning!

Third and this is geared to the parent’s of young children, please don’t linger around for 20 minutes waiting to see if your child has stopped crying or has already met her new best friend. I know how hard it is to walk away, I’ve been there, but it takes even longer for him/her to get adjusted and stop crying if they can see you and the anxiety written all across your face. My advice is to tell them ahead of time what is going to happen and reassure them they you will in fact be coming back. Tell them how many hugs and kisses they are going to receive and then stick firmly to it. I wrote a heart on the palm of my daughter’s hand when she started kindergarten so she could look at it and know that I was thinking of her. Trust that the teacher does this every year and is prepared to comfort your child and make the transition easier on all parties involved. They don’t want to hear your child screaming all day either.

Fourth, make sure everyone gets a good night sleep starting the week before. It is hard to transition from long summer nights and lazy mornings to getting up early and having to get going right away. Unless you want the mornings to become a battle zone, I highly recommend sticking with this one through out the year. It also makes time in the classroom harder on the students if all they can think about is how tired they are. For the littler ones, there is a noticeable difference in behavior for those children who are well rested and those who aren’t. Trust me the teacher knows who the night owls are and unless you enjoy talking to the teacher about why you perfect little gift is suddenly turning into the incredible hulk, please allow a good night’s sleep.

First day of school
First day of school


Finally, make the first day of school as exciting and special as you can. The more excited you are, the more excited your children will be. I took my daughter out for ice cream when she met her teacher and after the first day of school. It gives them something to look forward to. Another good idea is letting your child pick out their favorite meal for dinner. There is nothing more comforting than your favorite foods after what can be a stressful day.

You can also find some more great “expert” tips at www.nasponline.org. Happy school days!

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    • Heather63 profile image

      Heather Adams 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hi Jen - lots of great commonsense ideas! I have two kids in high school now, and the tip about going out for supplies ahead of time certainly still applies!!

    • jenbeach21 profile image
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      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks Heather63

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Jen, I love your suggestions and how you have encouraged parents on this subject. The first few days of school are tough on everyone, but knowing how to make the transition smoother is all it takes to make it enjoyable. I agree that talking with your child on what to expect does help ease the fear of the unknown.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Great suggestions Jen- Our three are returning to school this coming week ( UK) and this hub is a timely reminder to BE prepared. Really useful ideas. voted up and shared on FB ( HH) A little hub tip if you dont mind- the text can be broken into three or four sub 0heading and capsules to improve the readability quotient and this does help with increased page views. Apparently the 'average' reader scans the text for visual clues and cues.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Jen. At one time I had 4 kids in school, now I'm down to a 17yr. old son. I kind of miss those days of getting them all out the door in the mornings.

      I voted this Hub UP.

    • jenbeach21 profile image
      Author

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for the comments Docmo and mary. I will be looking at ways to improve based on your tips!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      My husband is a teacher--I think the same holds true for him!

    • jenbeach21 profile image
      Author

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for the comment Audrey!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Well, maybe I'm unusual, but I never rejoice when the kids go back to school. But then they only get 6 weeks in the UK, so maybe if we had as long as some parts of the US do I'd feel differently!

      My kids are teens now so we don't get to meet teachers, but I am definitely in favour of getting bedtimes back to normal well in advance of schools starting. My kids didn't really agree though so we're still in the midst of adjusting. Slowly getting there: we're almost at the end of week 2 back at school and this week has been better than last!

      Useful hub.

    • jenbeach21 profile image
      Author

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for the thoughts Melovy and good luck with bedtimes!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Such great advice really all in one place. As the parent of a child starting pre-school in the next week, I love the drawing of a hug on her hand idea and may just have to do this. Thanks for that little gem!! Have voted, shared and tweeted too!!

    • jenbeach21 profile image
      Author

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Good Luck Janine! I drew the heart for my daughter's first week of Kindergarten and she really loved it!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      Great suggestions, Jen! I thought I commented on this earlier, but got caught up getting ready for school on Tuesday! I just packed and readied all my books for all my classes and have all the necessary materials for class :) A lot of my friends do exactly what you say not to do: go out shopping for supplies late at night before classes start. They do go to Walmart and buy all the things they need at like 2AM when they have class at 8AM! Can you believe that? LOL

      Great hub and great points; I'll be excited when school starts!

    • jenbeach21 profile image
      Author

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for the comment KDuBarry!

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