A change in schools or returning to school after summer vacation, a holiday, or absence from school due to illness is a change for students and parents/caregivers. Students often experience a range of emotions from excitement, to worry, fear and sometimes sadness. You can help your child prepare for this change by:
- Asking how they are feeling about returning to school. Validate the feelings that they have shared. “I hear that you have this feeling about returning to school. I can understand that feeling.” Even if you don’t share the same feelings as your child, it is important to validate their feelings.
- Asking your child if they have any questions or concerns. Even if the concern sounds small to you, it is big to them!
- Helping your child to get answers to their questions or problem-solve any concerns, or to figure out how they can get answers. “Let’s think about who could help us with this question or problem.”
- Encouraging your child to remember the parts of school that they enjoy and are looking forward to the most. “I wonder what you are looking forward to about school?” “What’s something you are excited about?”
- Helping your older children to make a plan to get back to routines.
- For younger children, starting to introduce familiar routines and a schedule that is closer to the one used during school time. “Let’s practice walking to the school today;” “Beginning next week, we will have an earlier bedtime, and we will wake up earlier. This will help us be ready for the start of school.”
- Gathering any needed supplies.
- Arranging social times with other children who go to the same school. This can help foster friendships and connections.