Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP

Summer is a great time for children. Lots of free time and opportunities to be outdoors and play! The end of summer means that the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. Parents and caregivers can take advantage of this time and help prepare their child for the transition back to a scheduled and regimented day.

Here are some suggestions that can ease the transition and alleviate stress:

1. Establish routines. Create a daily and weekly schedule with your child that uses words and pictures. Place the schedule in a place where it can be easily seen and accessed like the refrigerator door.

2. Create bedtime routines. Start 60-90 minutes before the actual bedtime. Keep the lights low in the home. Bright lights stimulate the brain to stay awake. Limit screen time the before bed. The blue light that LED screens emit, e.g., tablets and smartphones, can interfere with hormones that signal our brain to sleep. Best to avoid electronics before bed by at least 90 minutes.

3. Prepare for the next day. Have children get their clothes ready for the next day. Have backpacks filled with all necessary books and school supplies. Get input on lunch for the next day. Depending on the child’s age teach them to prepare and pack their own lunch.

4. Eat a healthy breakfast! Breakfast cereals are easy, but there are lots of healthy alternatives: coconut yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts, oatmeal or hot quinoa, homemade granola, omelettes or quiches, wraps with eggs, turkey sausage, etc.

5. Visit the school. Walk or drive by the school. If it is a new school, contact the school so your child can visit. Let your child get familiar with the building and route to school. This is very helpful for a new school but also serves as reminder for children returning to the same school.

6. Talk to your child about the school year. Talk about how great it is going to be and how much learning is going to happen. Also talk to your children about what stresses them, e.g., worried about making friends, bullies, homework.

7. If possible, parents can adjust their schedule so they can be present for drop-off and pick-ups.

These tips can help make your child’s transition back into school easy and comfortable, so they can enjoy a stress-free environment!