Top Tips for Helping Children Transition Back into a School Routine

As the summer holidays come to an end, your child might have mixed feelings about the return to school. Perhaps they’re excited to see their friends or make new ones. Maybe they’re feeling nervous about what the upcoming term will bring. For a child, six weeks can be a long time to be out of their typical routine, so it’s not unusual for it to take some time to fully get back into the swing of things again. But with these top tips, we hope we can help to make the transition as smooth as possible so that the new school year is a positive experience.

  1. Acknowledge and Listen to Your Child’s Feelings

Having open communication with your child can help you to better understand not only what they’re feeling, but why they’re feeling this way. The back-to-school ‘scaries’ can occur for so many reasons, whether your child is anxious about having a new teacher, their change of timetable, or having to wake up early again!

Talking about their feelings, even if they’re positive, can help to create an environment where your child knows they’re able to speak to you about anything and alert you to bigger concerns such as bullying.

During this time, you may also want to discuss healthy ways to cope with stress. Navigating a new routine, at times, can be stressful, so it might be useful for you to provide your child with information on what to do if they’re feeling this way.

  1. Avoid the Summer Slide

Students can lose approximately 2+ months of learning over the summer if they do not remain engaged in learning*. But by ensuring your child keeps on top of the academic skills they obtained during term time, the transition back to the classroom can be smoother. 

The summer holidays might be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to brush up on some of your child’s skills over the next few weeks! As well as helping to make the transition back into their usual school routine easier, there are many other benefits of keeping your child learning over the summer such as improving time management, organisation, and research skills.

  1. Encourage Social Interaction

If your child didn’t get to spend much of the summer holidays with friends, it could be a good idea to arrange to do so before the holidays end. They might want to share how they’re feeling about the return or just have a catch-up to reacquaint in the time they’ve been away from each other. In doing so, their social skills can be improved, hopefully leading to greater confidence in the school environment.

  1. Develop a Visual Schedule

Many children benefit from a routine in their daily lives, so having a back-to-school schedule using the visual aid of a calendar can help with comfort and consistency. By involving everyone in the process, the whole household has predictability during this time when things can otherwise feel unstable. In your schedule, you could consider what after-school sports your child will be involved with when term begins, when you’ll have family activities when term-time bedtime is, or what’s going to be for dinner as some examples of what to write down.

  1. Organise School Supplies

Leaving the school supply shop to the last minute can create stress for both you and your child. You might want to think about shopping around before the last days of the holidays to avoid the last-minute dash (and minimise the risk of missing out on your child’s preferred stationery!) No one wants to be flustered wondering where things are the night before the back-to-school routine starts again!

  1. Celebrate the First Day!

Making the first day a lot less daunting can help make the transition back into a school routine easier for your child. One way to do this is by having something your child can look forward to either before the school day starts or for when their first day back is over. This might be making their favourite breakfast, taking them out for dinner, getting an after-school ice cream, or having a game set up when they arrive home.

* Summer Learning Loss – ThinkStretch