Tips for Children Returning to School

Whether your child is in pre-school, elementary, middle or high school, transitioning them back to school can be challenging. This is true for the parents or guardians and the child. Starting school can be both fun and stressful, particularly if your child has a new teacher or a new school. Children may experience anxiety about the new school year, changing schools, or any time there is a major transition. A child’s experience starting school is influenced by the family’s feelings, attitudes and level of preparation. Getting a new school year off to a good start can influence a child’s demeanor, confidence and social and academic performance. The transition from August to September can be difficult, but just like many other challenges in life, preparation and planning can help lower the stress. The first step is getting organized by creating a to-do list or checklist.

Before School Starts

  • Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health by scheduling doctor and dental checkups early. Discuss any concerns you have about your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician.
  • Review materials sent by the school as soon as they arrive. These packets may include important information about your child’s teachers, assigned classrooms, school supplies, etc.
  • Obtain your child’s school calendar and note significant dates, especially back-to-school nights. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school. Be sure to hang the calendar in a central location.
  • Obtain the class supply list and buy school supplies early, which will help your child feel prepared.
  • Attend your child’s open house, which gives you and your child an opportunity to tour the school and meet their teachers.
  • Reestablish bedtime and mealtime routines. Prepare your child for this change by talking about the benefits of school routines. This way, they do not become overtired or overwhelmed by schoolwork or activities.
  • Register on your child’s school district website to receive school newsletters or access the parent portal so you do not miss important deadlines.
  • Establish a daily school routine that includes breakfast, after- school snacks, study time, play time and family time.
  • Remember that you don’t need to wait until the first day of class to ask for help. Schools are open to address any concerns a parent or child might have, including the specific needs of a Consider asking for help one to two weeks before school begins.
  • Prepare for after school. Review with your child the plan for after-school care or what to do if they get home after school and you are not there. Put a note card in their backpack with your number, emergency number or the names and numbers of a trusted neighbor.
  • Verify whether your child’s school has a dress code before purchasing school clothes. To save money on school clothes, you can check for back-to-school sales in your local newspaper or online. Also consider visiting second-hand clothing stores, churches or community centers for school clothing.

The First Week

  • Make lunches the night before school. Give them the option to buy lunch in school if they prefer and finances permit.
  • Set alarm
  • Leave plenty of extra time. Make sure your children have plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast and get to school.
  • Send a brief note to your child’s teacher. Let the teacher know that you are interested in getting regular feedback on how and what your child is doing in school.

Switching from summer to a school schedule can be stressful for everyone in the household, but remember, routines help children feel more comfortable. Establishing a school routine will make the transition back to school smoother for everyone.

Cheers to a happy and healthy school year, 

 Dr. Cameual WrightVice President,

Market Chief Medical Officer, CareSource Indiana


References: FFF-Guide/Starting-School-082.aspx, Pages/Back-to-School-Back-to-the-Doctor.aspx,

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