The back-to-school rush means that kids can look forward to making new friends, learning new things, and meeting new teachers, but all that newness can be overwhelming, and a jarring change from the lull of summer. 

Here are a few quick tips to make the transition less stressful for parents and kids. 

Practice open communication

The website thepersonal.com states that it’s helpful to talk to kids about what they’re feeling and encourage them to talk to you about any fears or worries they might have. It might help to talk through specific scenarios with kids and plan strategies to overcome challenges. Help them come up with a few ways to act in those situations. 

Create routines

According to thepersonal.com, having a consistent routine before your child starts school can make the transition that much easier. The Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) notes that “predictable routines can help your child gain independence, responsibility and confidence.” 

Read books about school together

Sometimes, it can help to read books about going to school. This lets kids know what to expect and it is still fun. EPSB notes that “reading and sharing stories with your child in their first language boosts brain function, improves listening skills and sparks imagination and wonder.”

Establish independence

According to thepersonal.com, it’s a good idea to encourage kids to become more independent with tasks such as selecting their clothes and school supplies. This way, they can experience more responsibility and get more excited for school. Having an active role in the back-to-school routine can also help reduce anxiety. 

Have fun with it!

Sending kids off to school for the first (or second, or third) time can be scary. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun either. 

Try celebrating the first day back to school so it becomes a day that kids look forward to, and not something they dread. 

Melanie Spitzer, a community resident, says, “In the week leading up to school, I take my kids out for breakfast as a ‘reward or incentive’ to get up and move early.” 

Other options include giving small gifts (maybe with an educational theme), having an end-of-the-summer/back-to-school party with family and friends, or even baking and (more importantly) eating a back-to-school themed cake together. The options are limitless. 

For more resources on how to reduce stress when school starts in the fall, see these resources: 

myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwId=te7275

epsb.ca/schools/register/highschoolregistration/

healthyparentshealthychildren.ca/im-a-parent/young-children-5-year-olds/starting-school#helping-your-child-adjust-to-school

epsb.ca/media/epsb/familyandcommunity/welcome-to-kindergarten-info-sheet.pdf