Transitions from Summer Break to Back-To-School: How to Prepare?


Heading back to school signals a time of transition. For parents it could be the start of a midyear roller coaster because of the added routinary schedules of our day to day lives. But more than our own personal grief on transitions, the adjustment is actually most difficult for our kids. After a long summer vacation, getting your kids into the mood for studies can be an uphill battle. Their enthusiasm may be low or non-existent at all. But it shouldn't be something to be worried about, it's normal. 

As parents, we have to be aware that after a long school break, most children need to reset their biological clocks. And anything like lack of sleep can adversely affect performance, attention span and the physical health of our child. So as parents, we should be heedful in finding ways on how we can help our students to reset their internal clocks and bring back the excitement for the coming school year.

I have gathered a few helpful tips on how we can get our kids back into the school routine. To be effective, it must be a gradual process, so it's important that students have a period of at least 10-14 days to readjust.


Prepare them Mentally and Emotionally

Be compassionate. Summer breaks are like vacations so think about what it’s like for you to make the transition back from a great vacation. Help your child name what he likes best about your recent trip and what about school. Even if it starts out only with lunch and recess, go with that and let the conversation take you to some points.

Talk about the value of education. Even if school isn’t always easy, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important. Emphasize how working hard at school helps kids to succeed.

Teach your kids the differences between days. Most children get confused as to why they have to go to school or a Day Care Center five days a week and then stay home for two days. Take a calendar and have them mark off the days. Consider color-coding the days so that “green” days means schooldays and “yellow” days mean home days.

Talk about the benefits of summer breaks and the benefits of going to school. For example, it’s fun to choose what you want to do during breaks. But it’s also exciting to learn new things and meet new friends at school. Talk about the importance of “home time” and “school time” so that kids see the value in both (or talk about the importance of “play time” and “work time”).

Restart the Routines

Keep young children on the same daily routine. Kids need time to adjust, so make bedtime earlier and dust off the alarm clock about two weeks before school starts. Aim to serve meals at approximately the same times your child will be eating throughout the school year.

Go over ground rules. Decide when and where he or she will do homework. And be clear with some tricky questions like: Can i watch TV after homework? Can i still play the Ipad? Establishing guidelines and going over them together will make sure you're on the same page once school is in session.

Set goals together. Discuss a game plan for the upcoming year, achievements from the year before, and some skills that he would like to improve. Goals might include:
  • Making three new friends from another section or sitting at a different lunch table every week. 
  • Becoming a captain for a basketball team or become an inter-school representative for an academic contest. 
  • Maintaining his or her honoree or maybe topping it from second place to first place for this school year. 
Give them a Head Start

Sharpen Skills. Add more factual brain-bending activities into the everyday mix before the school starts. Board games, crossword puzzles, word searches, spelling quest and trivia all encourages your child to sit still, focus, and complete a task from start to finish.

Revive the Learning Spirit. Assign creative home drills as summer wanes: Ask brainstorming questions that will intervene active participation. Use flashcards and involve the family into the activity to make it lighter and fun for the kids. 

Set up a homework area. Create a quiet, well-lit space for study to prepare them for serious schooling in the coming weeks. Prepare the necessities and involve them in hauling their things to avoid freak outs on the first day of school. Make it personal and fun by labeling them with their names printed with their favorite color, but it must be free from distractions.

Take a Family Fieldtrip. Plan one last trip to top off months of water parks and ball games. You don't have to go far. You can visit a nature sanctuary to learn about different plants and trees, a butterfly garden or maybe a museum. Even though summer break is over, continue to have fun with your kids. Set aside some time each week to spend having fun together as a family, a weekend funaway would be great!

Relieve tension by dressing. Let your child choose a special first-day-of-school clothes — a souvenir shirt from your recent summer escape or a new dress could be perfect to set their mood. To avoid arguing over school-appropriate clothes, be honest in telling them that we need to replace sandals and swimsuits with socks, leather shoes, and school uniforms on school days.

Go for a test run or drop them off to school personally on the first day. Take a short trip to the school, and familiarize them with the new classroom. Make sure to find the canteen, gymnasium, or the library. Don't forget to lead them where the toilets are and the school clinic. Being with them on their first day can make them feel loved and well supported. Show them that you care and that you're proud.

Whether your kids are off to pre-school or grade school it's always good to become cautious with every details of their lives and to be mindful with their concerns and sentiments over schooling. Now that school is just a few weeks away (or maybe some have started already), I hope these pointers will help you prepare your children for their school routine without cutting short their summer fun.

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