Back to School Tips for Children

School Pencils

It’s back to school time! Preparing for a child’s return to the classroom requires preparation for the entire family. Every family has their own unique routine, and preparing these routines are a great first step in jumping back in.

I’ve worked with hundreds of kids and families over the years and found that the transition back is often filled with mixed emotions.

Some of the following examples are perfectly normal for both parents and children to feel:

  • excitement about starting school
  • fear and nervousness around meeting new people
  • stress around difficult class work
  • sadness about your vacation ending
  • overall happiness about your child returning to class

School Bus

It’s important to discuss any concerns or emotions that your child may have.

Sit with them and listen to their thoughts. Use their feedback to come up some ideas that may help them settle back into the routine easily.


Here are 8 tips for transitioning back to school:

# 1 – Know the Facts.

The school will mail packets home to parents with important dates and information.


Suggested Activity: Read the information sent to you by the school, and note what is important for your child.

#2 – Shopping for Supplies.

Back to school shopping can be both stressful and exciting, especially if you have multiple children. If possible, try and take only one child at a time.

You can turn this into quality time out with your child. Make a shopping list of essential items and create a budget. For older kids this is a great lesson in budgeting and identifying essential items for school.

Suggested Activity: Let your kids help prepare backpacks, binders and divvy up school supplies. This will contribute to the overall excitement of preparing to go back to school.

#3 – Regular Bedtime and Mealtime Routines.

During the summer, bedtime and mealtime routines tend to change. Start reestablishing earlier bedtimes and regular mealtimes at least two weeks before school starts.

It’s important for kids and teens to get adequate sleep and nourishment so they can be alert and focused during the day.

Suggested Activity: For older children, let them practice using alarm clocks for getting themselves up in the morning. This will help them take more responsibility for getting up on time.

#4 – Limit Electronics Usage.

Your kids may have gotten into a habit of constantly using tablets, watching TV, or spending hours playing games on computers or phones during the summer break.

Most schools only allow use of electronics for educational purposes or for limited amounts of time. Start restricting electronics use to only educational apps or games and set a time limit a couple weeks before school.

Suggested Activity: Let your kids identify some apps or games they enjoy and discuss time usage with them. Also encourage the use of arts, crafts, puzzles, flash cards, coloring or reading. This will help prepare your child for their mandatory class work.

#5 – Visit the School.

Whether your child is familiar with the school or completely brand new, it would be beneficial to visit it before the first day.

Suggested Activity: Let your child explore and familiarize themselves with the layout, location of their classroom(s), cafeteria, bathrooms, main office and playground.  If they already know the layout then let them give you a tour. This will help your child feel more confident and actually take pride in their school.

#6 – Establish a Time and Place for Homework.

It’s important for your child to have a consistent time of day and quiet place with minimal distractions to do their homework. Establishing this before school begins will help ensure timely completion of homework.

Suggested Activity: Let your child help identify when and where they will do their homework. They may also enjoy organizing or decorating their area to make it their own.

#7 – Designate a Backpack Area.

Having a designated place for backpacks, shoes, jackets and lunchboxes will help to decrease morning stress and ensure that the kids get to school on time.

Make sure your kids put their homework into their backpacks before placing them in the designated area.

Suggested Activity: Have a checklist by the front door that the kids can look at to make sure they have everything they need for school.

#8 – Breakfast and Lunch.

Sit down with your kids and discuss their meals.

Suggested Activity: Let them help make decisions about their meal planning and making. This will help ensure that your kids are eating.

When children help choose their food and help prepare it, they will be more likely to eat what is in their lunchboxes or on the kitchen table.

Next Steps

I hope that you and your child have a successful school year. If you would like to discuss any of these tips in more detail or if would like to establish school and household routines tailored to your family, you can call me at  +1 (818) 514-5655 to schedule an appointment.

Christina Castorena, MS, LMFT


– Christina Castorena, LMFT
Castorena Therapeutic Services