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Back to school!

September 1, 2016
Megan Powers , MOV Parent

It's that time of year again. Much to the chagrin of many kids (and to the joy of some parents), summer is coming to an end. That means school!

Back-to-school time means a lot of things. It means back-to-school shopping. It means the pool season is over. It means homework will soon be starting. It means no more playing Pokemon Go in the park during the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. And it also means a big transition from the carefree, fun-filled days of summer to the 7-hour school days. This transition can be a trying one for many kids and parents.

Transitions can be a hard thing for many of us. We can get so used to the routine (or lack-there-of in the summer,) that shifting into a new routine is difficult. Transitions are also challenging because they take a little time too. Transitions do not happen overnight. Patience is very important during transitions.

So while in the process of transitions from summer to school, keep in mind that it may take a few weeks until things are settled back into the school year.

There are a few things that will help to make the transition back to school easier. One of these things is transitioning back into a schedule. Having a schedule, especially when going back to school, is very important.

During the summer, many kids do not have a set schedule and lack a lot of structure. Kids' activity levels often fluctuate from one day to the next. Their sleep schedule also fluctuates from day to day. School, however, is a different story. School days are highly structured compared to the happy-go-lucky days of summer.

Some ways to help kids with the increase in structure from the school days, is also to gradually increase structure at home as well. A few ways to increase this structure is to have a set bedtime, a set wakeup time, a general timeframe for dinner, and a time set aside to do homework and study. Life can be very busy these days, with kids being involved in sports and extracurricular activities.

Times that are set aside for dinner and homework may not always happen according to plan, but striving to try and stick to the schedule as much as possible will be beneficial for the child. To help with keeping this schedule, it may also be beneficial to have a reward for the kids if they complete their tasks for the week and stick to their schedule.

Another thing that will help to make the transition back to school easier is parents managing their own stress and anxiety with the transition back to school. The start of school can also be a stressful thing for parents as well. Parents have to help with homework, make sure the kids are up and ready in time to catch the bus, and in bed at a decent hour. Not only that, parents also have to shuttle their kids to and from their different sports practices or extracurricular activities. If kids are seeing their parents experiencing anxiety or stress, then the kids will also be more likely to have an increase in anxiety or stress.

An additional thing that will make the transition back into school a more successful one is keeping open communication with the kids and having quality family time. Open communication and quality family time are both important. Not only do these things promote healthy relationships, but it will also allow kids to feel more comfortable in communicating any stress or anxiety that they may feel.

While things can seem very chaotic with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially during the school, keep in mind the things that can help make this transition into the new school year more enjoyable. Take time to enjoy family time this school year. Have a great school year!

Meagan Powers, MS, LPC is a counselor at The Counseling and Wellness Center. Find out more about her and the center at or 304-422-7300.



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