Positive Transitions During the School Year

While most students are well into their new school year, some are in year-round schools or just now transferring into a new school.

What they all have in common is that they are experiencing transitions, and transitions are a part of life and can sometimes be challenging. 

It can be difficult, for example, to transition from summer schedules to fall schedules or vacation and holiday schedules to busy school schedules.

There are both physical and mental adjustments that need to be made, and those require periods of adjustment for students as well as their parents and other adults.  

Here are some suggestions to approach transitions in the school year in a positive way:

1.  With regard to physical adjustments, parents can help their children reset their body clock and get used to a new sleep schedule.  Resetting bedtime and gradually having their children wake up earlier and earlier, is a good start to getting them β€œready” for the early morning wake up call for school, as well as establishing monthly schedules that include adequate time for homework, after school extracurricular activities, and time spent with family and friends. 

2.  With regard to the mental adjustments, parents play a big part in helping their children get ready for the new school year as well.  The transition between summer break and the fall semester can be exciting and frightening at the same time. The transition between holidays and school any time of year can be sometimes challenging.

Parents can begin by having meaningful discussions about the exciting new things that their children will be doing during the new school year.  It’s a time to be positive and discuss the fact that, as children get older, they are given greater responsibilities and get to do more and more exciting things. 

It is during these discussions that children frequently express their own ideas and feelings, and even anxieties, fears and insecurities. By engaging the children in conversations like this and focusing on the positive aspects of change, they can ignite a sense of excitement and something to think about well into those first few weeks of school. This can help alleviate some of the stress or anxiety over an β€œabrupt” end to summer or a holiday.

3.  Parents can also address any specific concerns that their children might have about new and unknown things. If the children do in fact have anxiety, stressors or fears about the new school year starting and the end of summer, this is the time to identify them and take specific steps to address them.  It is not unusual for children to be anxious or stressed over new friendships, breakdown of old friendships, moving to a new neighborhood, new teachers, a bigger school, finding their classroom, additional homework, etc.  The key is to acknowledge the fears and talk about them.

4.  Parents can also help children create a positive outlook about school by discussing what they hope to accomplish in the coming year.  It is important to set goals and regularly assess whether those goals are being met.  Many of these goals will probably be aligned to what will be expected of the children in school, and others will be related to how to accomplish those goals.  There will undoubtedly be successes and failures, triumphs and challenges; but the key will be to be supportive and keep the lines of communication open with the children.

There are many more ways parents can help their children transition out of vacation mode and into school year mode.  We would love to hear your thoughts.  So, like and share your thoughts with us on Facebook!