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Embracing the Transition Back to School: Strategies for a Smooth Return

Blog post written by,

Ara Mascarenas, M.S - Registered Intern for Mental health Counselor Licensure


The return to school after a summer break is an event filled with anticipation, excitement, and sometimes anxiety for children. This complex period requires empathy and support from parents and educators alike. Below are strategies and insights rooted in psychological research to ease the transition.


1. Establish a Consistent Routine

Creating a predictable daily routine, including set times for waking up, meals, homework, and bedtime, promotes stability and reduces anxiety (Fiese et al., 2002). Gradually shifting to the school-year schedule before the first day back can make mornings smoother and less stressful.

2. Create a Supportive Learning Environment

A well-organized, distraction-free space for study positively impacts academic performance by enhancing concentration and motivation (Duckworth et al., 2013). Engaging children in setting up their study areas can make them feel more invested in their learning.

3. Foster Healthy Peer Relationships

Encourage children to maintain friendships and social connections, as strong peer relationships enhance self-esteem and resilience (Parker et al., 2006). Facilitating playdates with classmates can make the return to school more familiar and comfortable.

4. Encourage Mindful Eating and Sleeping Habits

Balanced meals and a regular sleep schedule enhance overall well-being and learning (Hale et al., 2008; Rampersaud et al., 2005). Breakfast, in particular, is essential for cognitive performance and focus during school hours.

5. Involve Children in Preparing for School

Allowing children to participate in choosing supplies and setting personal goals increases ownership and motivation (Zimmerman, 2002). Involvement in these preparations can make children feel more in control and excited about the school year.

6. Regular Check-Ins and Open Communication

Schedule consistent times to talk about school experiences, progress, and challenges (Sheridan et al., 2012). Open dialogue fosters trust and helps parents identify areas where support may be needed.

7. Encourage Extracurricular Activities

Help your child explore hobbies and extracurricular interests to enhance self-esteem, social skills, and resilience (Fredricks et al., 2002). Engagement in enjoyable activities can balance the demands of the school.

The transition back to school is unique for each child, and for some, it may present particular challenges that require professional guidance. Scheduling a session with a therapist can provide personalized strategies and emotional support tailored to your family's unique needs.


For more information about working with me and to get a FREE 30-minute phone consult, please call at 954.850.6633 or email me at aramascarenasmhc@gmail.com.

 

Ara Mascarenas, M.S


I am interested in working with children, adolescents, and their families. I am good at establishing a positive therapeutic relationship with clients who are currently struggling with anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues. For more information about working with me and to get a FREE 30-minute phone consult, please call at 954.850.6633 or email me at aramascarenasmhc@gmail.com.


Services available in English/Spanish and Online.



References:

  • Fiese, B. H., et al. (2002). A review of 50 years of research on naturally occurring family routines and rituals: Cause for celebration? Journal of Family Psychology, 16(4), 381.

  • Duckworth, A. L., et al. (2013). Self-regulation strategies improve self-discipline in adolescents: Benefits of mental contrasting and implementation intentions. Educational Psychology, 31(1), 17-26.

  • Parker, J. G., et al. (2006). Friendship and friendship quality in middle childhood: Links with peer group acceptance and feelings of loneliness and social dissatisfaction. Developmental Psychology, 42(2), 611-621.

  • Hale, L., et al. (2008). Youth screen time and behavioral health problems: the role of sleep duration and disturbances. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(2), 245-250.

  • Rampersaud, G. C., et al. (2005). Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(5), 743-760.

  • Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory Into Practice, 41(2), 64-70.



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