Transitioning into school or a new early learning setting can sometimes be a challenge for both children and their families. Having a plan and knowing some tips can make that transition easier.

PA’s Promise for Children asked families and friends for their best back to school tips to help transition children and their families from the summer months to the schedule of school. Click below to see what they shared!

Start your school routine a week or two before school starts. –  Catherine R.

Start a new school year routine before school starts. Gradually set alarms earlier about a week or two before school starts back up. – Rebekah L.

Start your back-to-school return beginning in August. Start by going to bed early 8pm at best and wake-up early whatever your school Start time, lay clothes out the night before and bath the night before so a good washing up is all required in the morning. Have lunches pre-prepared the night before and when possible pre-set breakfast table all this preparation the night before helps to save time and helps children learn a routine which is also expected in schools. But first sit your children down and discuss what is going to occur so everyone knows what’s expected and what role everyone will play. – Jordan’s Family Childcare Home

Instead of acting stressed about school starting, act excited! Tell your kids how much fun they will have had school and all the exciting things they will learn! Share with them some of your memories from school and how you made friends, even when it felt scary. Your kids will feel your excitement and love for learning. When they see that you’re excited, they will be too. – Melanie C.

Get reacclimated to the school schedule at least three weeks prior to the start of school to be sure all are rested and alert. – Mary R.

Plan and prepare the day before so that mornings are not rushed. For children attending school for the first time. Drive by the school a few times look at the building and talk about it. If you attended that school tell your child about your school memories in that building. Always be well rested. – Susan R.

Start a routine several weeks before school starts. Take a road trip so they can see their new school. Make a book with photos of their school, their teachers, their friends. – MaryAnn H.

I always think it’s a great idea to get them into a similar routine as to what they would be doing when the school year starts. Such as getting them up every day for about a week (or more) getting them ready as if they were going to school and keeping a semi structured day like taking them somewhere for an errand that needs to be run so they get used to being in a car and traveling to somewhere in the morning, and keeping a similar time schedule as activities they would do when they do go to school so it’s less of a shock to them. – Chelsea Hagans

Let your children see your excitement about the new school year! – Patricia M.

Practice back to school morning routines a few times before the big day. – Elizabeth F.

Start making the shift of bedtime/getting up early on so that it’s not drastic – we start this in the beginning of August. Then by the week before school starts, we’re on schedule and use that week as a trial run testing our morning routine timing to make any necessary tweaks. This has worked well for our family.- Megan B.

I would read bedtime stories of going to preschool. Repetitive reminders that she is going to make many friends and learn a lot of great things so that is it an easier adjustment into school without her feeling shy or timid. It helped and she loves school! – Amber C.

Families should ask children about their feelings about their first day of kindergarten and use books to talk about what the first day will be like to calm any nerves. A great book is On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe and Laura Hughes. After reading it, one rising Kindergarten student told me “We have to be brave when we go to Kindergarten!”- Cory J.

Make it a fun and exciting routine. Get ready the evening before so you are not rushed in the morning. Have your little one help pick out clothes, pack his/her lunch, and whatever else you want to through in the routine to make the next morning go as smoothly as possible for everyone. – Teresa L.

We allow all the children, with their parents to visit our program for an hour “Parent and Child Day”. The session is held in the morning from 9:00am to 10:00am. The parents, along with their children, participate in our morning activities together. – Jolie C.

Visit school ahead of time so your child feels comfortable with the new environment. – Christine W.

Make school and learning exciting, get pumped and discuss activities and more that the child truly enjoys and how they can be found within their classroom. Make sure you go to back-to-school night so that they can explore their school and classroom, meet their teacher, and maybe even find their desk. Obviously the above is geared toward an elementary school child, BUT these work great for early childhood education transitions into care as well! Holding a routine where expectations are set and managed easily creates an area of safety and calm within. – Jacqui C.

Be Prepared! Talk about what will happen. Tour the school or look at pictures. Meet the teacher. Have a practice run of waiting for the bus or drop off. – Barbara

For those that have children with anxiety about going to school – Make a calendar for your child. Put symbols of when they will be going to school and when they stay home. You can also make a schedule of what happens at school so they know how many things they will be doing – story time, play time, snack, etc. – until it’s time to come back home. -Kim S.

Always help the family transition for children to feel comfortable on the first day of the school years. – Nitzali B.

Kids have tons of energy and by end of the day I made a habit that they could unwind before bedtime by reading their favorite book. If kids are little, then read to them. It will help them to get better sleep hours and better start next morning. – Shaily S.

Make a fun snack for after school and try to let your child have some physical activity to let out the wiggles from lots of sitting at school. – Brooke B.

Have a great breakfast as a family and give encouragement words about the day. – Ebony O.

Develop a schedule and stick to it. Most kids need that added structure, especially at the beginning of the year. – Lauren C.

Have your child take ownership of his/her routine by having pictures of what they need to do each morning/after school. This provides them with independence and prepares them for setting routines in the future. – Mary L. A.

Be patient this is for staff and parents it’s a transition for both sides it’s like a triangle– three important parts: children, parents, staff. We all need each other. – Vakia U.

Pack everything you need the night before and place it by the door or in your car, so the morning isn’t so rushed. – Suzie Lee T.

Remember to breathe, the first week is a grace period for everyone to adjust to the sudden schedule change. – Diane W.

Prepare everything the night before, get clothes ready, lunches packed, bookbags packed by the door, and even set the breakfast table! – Marybeth W.

Remember that kids are “holding it together” during school and may need to decompress at home. Don’t schedule big events or activities for the first few weeks – simpler is better! – Susan H.

Don’t push let them transition on their own timeframe. Don’t linger but let them know you will return. – Patty G.

get as much done the night before (lunches packed, book bags ready to go, clothes laid out) it makes the morning go smoother. Always keep your library book in your book bag when you’re not reading it. This way you’ll never have to pay for a lost library book. Keep a calendar with all the events coming up that week. Get plenty of rest and make sure to enjoy this. – Michelle A.

Create an evening and morning schedule to make your days easier and calmer. For example, pick out clothing, and pack lunches and backpacks the night before. – Amy C.

Homework time shouldn’t be stressful for children! Make a routine out of it–here’s an example: At 4:00, while you work on dinner, set your child up at the kitchen table. Put on some instrumental music and shake your booty! Or, if your child is in Child Care until dinner, they can do homework at the table while you clean up. Fitting homework into the routine will make it less of a struggle each day. – Kelly L.

Reading and hands on activities. – Michelle L.

Families should have a conversation with their child’s teacher regarding their child’s strength & area of needing improvement, as well as any concerns that might impact their child’s success at school. Suggest having the child create a little book about him/her – be creative and fun! – Racquel D.

Prepare the night before. Establish a morning routine. Give praises to your child each morning. – Katrina L.

Go to bed early and be ready for the next day! – Donna S.

Kids: Be prepared and eager to learn. You only get out of school what you put into it. Parents: Always be ready to help and learn too. Put the phones away and dedicate your time to your kids. Don’t hesitate to contact teachers for additional help or explanation and never leave without understanding. – Barbara J.

Stay in top of laundry! – Kira G.

Have a good breakfast. – Jessica S.

The best back to school tip for families would be to allow your child to get enough rest before coming to school, which should consist of 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. – Carmen M.

Take the time to enjoy those “1st” day moments with you children. They are only for a while, you can’t get back standing at the bus stop for the first day of kindergarten, it only happens once! – Sharon W.

Make a special time at the end of the day where the parent/caregiver is fully present and talk for a few minutes about the child’s day in a meaningful way. The parent can ask what they enjoyed most about math class that day, what art project they started working on, or who they sat next to at lunch. Asking open ended questions, not just yes and no answers can help facilitate conversations between children and parents. – Rebecca F.

Take it one moment at a time and enjoy the ride. – Penny L.

You don’t have to be friends with everyone but be nice to everyone. – Martha F.

Writing something out is equivalent to reading it seven times! – Amber V.

Routine is key. – Madalene M.

Take it one day at a time, listen to your children ask them questions about their day and always allow time for some non- instructional fun as well. – Sonya G.

Eat well, sleep well, and have fun! – Francee M.

To the park with a picnic. – Noreen L.

Slow down! Allow your family to have downtime every day. This will help to decrease the anxiety that children will naturally feel as school begins and allow them time to process their school experience and be rested enough mentally for the school year. – Tracy H.

Remember to talk about occurrences of your day, & important upcoming events, with each other. – Rozita B.

Just have fun and encourage your child to do the BEST that they can each and every day. – Pamela B.

What are your favorite tips? Leave them in the comments!

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