Ace this Back to School Season

Ace this Back to School Season

It’s beginning – those back to school commercials, signaling that school is just around the corner. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago we were preparing for school to end. Along with it, we had a regular routine and (a somewhat) consistent sleep schedule.  Kids and adolescents often experience an alleviation of stress and anxiety around summer time due to the change in responsibility and workload. As August comes around, there tends to be an increase in worry as thoughts of expectations and schedules return. Although it may be difficult to completely prepare for back to school, there are some things that may help.


Children often succeed on a regular routine; unfortunately, summer usually brings the opposite of that. It may seem early to start implementing a routine. There may also be some pushback from your kids, but now is as good a time as any to start. Decide your kid’s bedtime for when school starts and begin working toward that. If starting a few weeks before school begins, you have time to slowly move bedtime closer to the desired time (i.e. starting at 10 pm now and moving every 15 minutes each week to get to 9 pm). This is also beneficial to do for the morning wakeup as well. If you have kids that are starting a new routine, you can try a few practice runs of the morning schedule to help everyone be more prepared.


Creating a space for your child to open up about their day is important when helping them to manage emotions, and finding the right avenue for your family can be key. One option is setting time aside daily to encourage your child to communicate how their day has gone. Times that can work for families are the drive home from school, during dinner time, or before bed.

It may be helpful to be creative in how you ask about their day as repetition may lead to the same response from your child. You can try this activity at home- two truths and a lie, your child tells you two things that happened that day and one thing that did not. The parent then tries to figure out which one did not happen. This is a fun way to help initiate parent-child interaction regarding the school day.

Another tip I’ve learned when working with kids is the importance of listening. I find that parents so often want to solve their child’s problems, and there are times when the child is just wanting to vent. I encourage parents to ask their child what they are wanting when having these types of conversations.

Prep work

Planning for challenges can be a good way to help kids feel more confident in returning or starting school.

Identify the school’s resources

If the school has a counselor or psychologist, you can make them aware of the concerns that you have regarding your child. If this does not seem like a step that is right for your family, it may just be helpful to make your child aware of the support resources in the school so they can use them when needed.

Tour the school 

Schools often have a back to school night which can be useful for answering questions and meeting teachers. It can be beneficial during this back to school night to walk to each of the classes the child will have and time how long it takes to get to each one. I find that being late to class brings a lot of anxiety to kids, especially when transitioning to a bigger school.


Lunch is often a high-stress time and it can be a bit tricky preparing for this. If the child is concerned about who to sit with, help your child identify one or two peers that they can connect with prior to school starting. I have come across some schools where the administration is helpful in navigating this time. They provide kids with places, at times smaller spaces, for the kids to eat if that is more comfortable. This is something that could be addressed at a back to school night or by reaching out to the school counselor, who can often be found on the school’s website.

School is just a few weeks away. Preparing with a few of these suggestions can help ease some of the nerves that come along with this transition. If there are things that have worked for you in the past, make note of them and make sure to implement those as well. Let the season of back to school begin!