BacktoSchool_Backpack

How To: Have a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

BacktoSchool_BackpackWe asked Josh Klapow, PhD, associate professor of public health and a clinical psychologist at UAB, for his top tips on navigating back-to-school with confidence and ease. “These tips will help ease the transition and anxiety that the new school year brings,” Klapow says. “Just remember: this is a transition time, so the earlier you start, the smoother the transition will be.”

1. Ease into it. “Start transitioning kids from summertime to school year routines. Bed times, wake-up times, and general morning routines are going to change the first day of school. Start the routine tonight—and continue until the first day of school—by gradually going to bed and waking up earlier.”

2. Hit the Books—a Little. “If you haven’t already, get kids back in the routine of some level of study. Reading 20 minutes a day is one great way. If your child can’t read yet, work with them on reading skills or read to them.”

3. Meet and Greet. Take advantage of any meet-the-teacher events. “This is precious time to help your child get acclimated, so don’t rush this visit. Not only meet the teacher, but take time to let your child learn the room. Let them sit in their chair, explore, and ask questions. The more they can feel that the room is a safe place, the more comfortable they’ll be. When you leave, practice walking from the entrance of the school to the room several times.”

4. Remain Calm. “Your children will pick up on your feelings, so it’s up to you to set the tone by remaining calm and composed. If you’re nervous, concerned, or sad about the beginning of school, your child will sense it. If you’re excited and positive, your child is more likely to be too.”

5. Celebrate a New Year! “Make the night before the first day of school a special one. Maybe it’s going out to dinner, having a special dinner at home, or getting an ice cream cone. Your kids will love this new tradition, and it will reduce some of the night-before jitters.”

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