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How to Make the Back-to-School Transition Easier

August 22, 2018 | by Adina Soclof, MS. CCC-SLP

Practical advice on lowering tensions in the morning and beating the back to school blues.

Going back to school can be lots of fun for kids but getting back into our routine can be tricky. The way we talk to our kids can make or break our interactions. When we communicate effectively with our kids, we can express our love to them better and gain their cooperation, making the transition a lot smoother.

Here are five ways that could make a real difference:

1. Prepare for the new wake up time

The night before school starts make sure to prepare your kids for the early morning wakeup.

Instead of: “You better get out of bed on time tomorrow morning!”
Try: “What’s the best way for you to wake up on time tomorrow morning?”

You can also have a discussion of what works best for them: “Would you like to wake up to an alarm clock or do you want me to wake you up?”

“Who needs a new alarm clock?”

“How much time do you think you need in the morning?”

2. Clothing wars

Instead of: “You cannot wear the same shirt three days in a row!”
Try this: “Clean shirts need to be worn to school.”

You can also have this discussion before hand: “I know you love this shirt. I can wash it every other day. What other shirts can you wear when this one is not available?”

It’s also helpful to make sure that clothes for school are laid out the night before. It is such a simple way to lessen the stress of school mornings.

3. Breakfast:

Instead of: “Hurry up and eat already! I don’t have all day!”
Try: “We have 10 minutes for breakfast. Toasted waffles and cereal are available.”

You can also have a discussion before hand: “Okay guys, Tuesdays I don't have to be at work until later, I am available to make you eggs if you’re down by 7:30 am. Other days, breakfast bars, cereal and toasted waffles are the choices. How does that sound? If you have any other suggestions or preferences we can discuss it but not in the morning – it’s just too hectic. Bring it up the night before.”

4. Preparing for leaving the house:

Instead of: “Why does it take you so long to put your shoes on! Where is your jacket? Why don’t you have your backpack ready?”
Try: “ Shoes! Jackets! Backpacks! Car!”

Children love brevity and it’s easier for them to listen to one word than a whole sentence, especially during a time crunch.

You can also have a discussion beforehand: “The last couple of minutes before we get into the car seem to be a little tense. What can we do to make it easier?”

The best thing we ever did was to put up hooks and a small bench right near our garage door. Backpacks and shoes were put there the night before so at least that last minute scramble was eliminated.

At some point, I also decided that our kids needed to put their shoes on before breakfast. That helped as well.

5. Last minute meltdowns:

No matter how much we plan, there will be glitches. We need to teach kindness instead of getting angry.

Instead of: “I can’t believe that you did not put your homework in your backpack!”
Try: “There are always day where we forget to do what we are supposed to do. Let’s stop for a second, breathe, we can figure something out!”

We can also plan for those last minute meltdowns. We can have discussions periodically throughout the year: “Sometimes things are not going to go as planned. When we’re trying to get ready for school it can be really tough to keep our cool. Let’s both try to keep our eye on solutions!”

Hope you have an easy transition back to school!

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