The summer hols are coming to a close, and back-to-school nerves are setting in for many of our kiddos. How do you reassure your kids and enter into a new school year organised and confident?
Separation and social anxiety, worrying about new teachers and friendships, and adapting to a stricter schedule (and earlier wake-up times!) after a free-and-easy summer can be unsettling. We asked our Launchpad members for their top tips on transitioning the kids back to school to help make the new routines as seamless and stress-free as possible for the whole fam.
1. Up the excitement by taking the kids on a shopping trip for back-to-school supplies!
“Heading back to school can be a mix of emotions for children, but there’s one top tip that I use for my child that makes the transition easier – school shopping! The excitement of picking out new stationery, notebooks and trendy backpacks. School shopping not only equips my child with the tools they need for school but also ignites a sense of enthusiasm to return to the classroom.
As a child, I fondly recall the thrill and anticipation I experienced every new term when I received my fresh set of school supplies. The excitement that bubbled within me was unmatched as I eagerly awaited the chance to pick out colourful notebooks, shiny pens, perfect school shoes and a brand-new backpack. This definitely helps kids to transition back to school more easily.”
– Divya Chopra, Founder, The Plush Club
2. Prepare the kids early and reassure them with routine cards and clear schedule plans
“It’s so hard to get the kids pumped up for school when what they are leaving is the goodness of summer holidays. Imagine endless days of pool, outdoor play, ice cream, and unlimited playdates – who would want to change a thing?
What works for us is to engage them with back-to-school planning through visual Montessori routine cards such as Cubo Sticky Schedules. It gets the kids to look at the mundane school routines through a different lens to a much more exciting back-to-school experience to look forward to. There’s definitely less resistance in using this educational tool, and it encourages independence while they transition to the new school year routines.”
– Karen Villard, Founder and Chief of Play, Cubo Toys
3. Engage the kids in decision-making to boost their confidence heading back to school
“Going back to school is a phase that can be both exciting and challenging at the same time for the whole family. With a little planning, the transition from vacation mode to school mode can be made smooth. Parents often believe that their children are too young to organise, and it would be quicker if they helped their children with organising tasks or putting away their things. My top tip, on the contrary, is to involve them from as young an age as possible in the decision-making process. Give the kids choices, with options to choose from (where the end results are what the adult is happy to accept) using these prompts:
– Where shall we put this?
– What would you like to keep based on the space we have?
– What do you think?
– Do we really need this?
– How often do we think we will use it?
– Can we rent/borrow it?
– Will we use this for a short period of time or longer?
These small gestures of responsibility in creating a clutter-free environment can help kids to feel respected, capable, self-confident and self-reliant.”
– Dr. Aparna Chari Sundar, Certified KonMari Consultant & Positive Parenting Coach, Global Mindful Journey
4. Curb meltdowns and attachment anxiety with tools from the ‘Circle of Security’
“With the transition back to school, some parents may notice that the children seem to be having more meltdowns and having more “attention-seeking” behaviours. If you have ever wondered how you can stop your child from behaving “badly”, or what you can do to manage their behaviour, I’d recommend researching the model ‘Circle of Security’. This can give you an insight into why children behave the way they do, how you can manage your own struggles around certain attachment needs, and find respectful ways to set boundaries.
Circle of Security (COS) is based on decades of research about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened. COS states that behind every behaviour, there is a need, and through effectively reading your child’s cues, you’ll be able to focus on meeting those needs. Through responsive and attuned caregiving, children can develop a greater capacity to organise their feelings. This can lead to increased self-awareness, emotional resilience, and the ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
In the long term, children who have a secure attachment with at least one adult are more likely to:
– Do better in school
– Have better friendships
– Enjoy greater physical health
– Higher self-esteem
– Enjoy more fulfilling relationships throughout life
My top tip for parents to ease the transition back to school is to focus on building security and attachment by listening with compassion. I also think it’s important to allow our kids to have downtime after school. It’s great if you can find pockets of time, whether it is over meals or during bedtime, to chat about what is happening in school and how they are feeling about school, friends and their teachers.
Try to refrain from commenting, teaching or scolding. Set aside distractions to focus on engaging them and actively listening. This allows a child to feel that they are being seen, heard and supported by their parents.”
– Ava Gao, Motherhood & Parenting Coach, The Curious Mama
5. Set a positive tone for the school year with a well-organised ‘drop zone’ to encourage preparation and focus
“As a professional home organiser, my top tip for a seamless transition back to school is to create a well-organised drop-zone for school essentials like backpacks and schoolwork.
Designate a specific place for these items to ensure easy access in the morning and eliminate any confusion about where to store them at night. This simple organisation fosters a sense of routine, empowering your kids to start their day with confidence and enabling smoother evenings. With a structured drop-zone, your children will feel more prepared and focused, setting a positive tone for the entire school year.”
– Nassim Secci, Founder, The Happy Space Company
What’s your top tip for easing the kids back to school? Drop us an email and let us know!