Make the back-to-school transition easier

Summer vacations end for most families in the United States sometime during the month of August or September.  When a new school year begins routines have to change.  Parents and students should start preparing in advance for an easy back to school transition.  There’s also a few things that can be done during the first few weeks of school that will establish a framework for the entire school year.

Before School Starts

At least one week before school starts, parents and children need to adjust to school hours.  A bedtime routine that takes school into account should be established.   Family members need to be mindful of school hours when planning daytime and nighttime activities in the weeks leading up to the start of school.

Obtain grade level school supply lists and purchase school supplies.  Parents and students should attend orientation day to meet each child’s teachers.  Orientation day is the time to map out classroom locations so there are no questions about where students need to go on their first day of school.

When School Starts

Everyone should plan to wake up 10 to 15 minutes earlier than necessary for the first week until a regular routine is established.  The extra few minutes in the morning will allow time for anything that might go wrong before the kids head off to school and parents head off to work.

Everyone should choose clothes and shoes for work and school the night before. Don’t wait until in the morning; iron anything that needs ironing.  Designate a location for clothes and shoes to be placed so that everything is easy to find when it’s time to get dressed. Place all school related items in a designated area – near the door is good. For kids who take their lunch to school, do as much preparation as possible the night before.

Be sure to keep easy to prepare breakfast foods in the house. Fresh fruit (bananas, apples, seedless grapes, etc.), cereal bars, whole grain sandwich crackers, drinkable yogurt, juice pouches or boxes are good to have in case a grab-and-go breakfast becomes necessary.  Avoid skipping breakfast.

Have a plan for after school.  There should be a clear understanding about how kids will get home from school and what they should do once they get home. Establish when, where, and how long kids are expected to spend time working on homework. 

Parent Schedules

The return to school impacts parent schedules so they’ll need time to adjust.  The first week of school might be a good time to make meals that are semi-homemade . Dinner menus should be kept healthy but simple until everyone adjusts to a back-to-school routine.  Consider buying a main dish and making a healthy salad or simple side dishes to go along with it.  Or, cook the main dish but pick up side items from a grocery store deli.


Parents should ask kids about their first day of school.  It’s important to keep the lines of communication open all year. Parents should get to know all of their children’s teachers and school administrators.   Make sure the school’s staff (secretaries, guidance counselors, etc.) knows you.


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