Back to School! Easing the Transition {for everyone}

by Diane Burdick, M. Ed.

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The long, lazy days of summer are done and gone. Ease your child (and yourself) into the new school year by establishing routines both at the beginning and ending of the day. Here are a few tips on how to make August easier for everyone. (Read them now, thank us later!)

1. Opt for a high-protein breakfast.

While you may not eat a lot of food for breakfast, little tummies need food more frequently. They also need something to jump start their bodies and brains in the morning. Look for high-fiber, high-protein foods, such as peanut butter on a whole-wheat waffle or toast, eggs or yogurt. For more healthy, easy (and fast!!) breakfast-on-the-go combos, check out this list from Real Simple.

A good general breakfast rule: avoid simple carbs (see ya later, PopTarts), which are metabolized quickly (long before lunchtime) and can cause sluggishness when the “sugar high” wanes. If your kid loves Frosted Flakes, let them have it…but for dessert after dinner! Fortified cereals (even the sugary ones) are better than most other options.

2. Create—and post—routines.

The summer-to-school transition is hard on everyone. Make it easier by establishing routines early on in the year. Like:

• Require your child to make his bed and brush his teeth before coming down to breakfast.

• Change into school clothes before eating breakfast.

• Lay out the next day’s clothing AND pack book bags the night before.

Consider posting your decided-upon routines (as a checklist) on the fridge or other conspicuous area where you are all sure to see it everyday.

3. Get active!

Okay, so there’s not time for a full-fledged yoga class before school. But even mild activity, such as stretching or taking the dog for a short walk, synchronizes the brain and body and helps prep your child’s neurons for learning. Homeschooling parents especially should remember that traditional schools have a break or recess time, so let your child get up and stretch or play outside from time to time to keep his mind working at top performance.

4. Go to bed on time!

According to, children ages 3 to 6 should get 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, children 7 to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours, and students 12 to 18 years old need 8 to 9 hours. Since it may be difficult for children to go to sleep while it’s still light outside, make the room as dark as possible. Purchase black-out liners for the windows (available inexpensively at most national big-box stores), or switch the position of your child’s bed so it is farther away from the bright window.

The bottom line:

Healthy habits and a set routine help ensure a smooth slide into the new school year—for you and the kiddos.

Diane Burdick, M. Ed. holds a masters in elementary education and a bachelors in history, and is currently pursuing her specialists degree with a concentration in teaching and learning. A homeschooling mother of three, she also enjoys freelancing for online publications.



Filed under Academic Success, Parenting

6 responses to “Back to School! Easing the Transition {for everyone}

  1. Kelly Jones

    Great advice! I’m going to share this info with my parents next week at “meet and greet”. Love it!

  2. Joey Byrd

    These are great ways to get back into the swing of thins. Our first full day of school is Monday, and I think I will share this article with my students and their parents. Thank you.

  3. Great tips! School starts soon!

  4. Colette Balmer

    I would also add: Get everything that you possibly can ready the night before (pack lunches, pick out outfit, pack backpack, etc) so that the morning won’t be so rushed and everyone can start the day off more relaxed!

  5. Jennifer Nuss

    I layout several outfits on Sunday nights so if I am not in the mood for something one day I have an option for another day!!

    • Jennifer N, you sound like a former college roommate of mine! Great idea to give your kids options of what to wear, so they feel like they have some input. My mom used to package my brother’s clothing (complete outfits with socks and underwear) in gallon sized ziplock bags so he only had to pull out a bag to get ready in the morning.