In the Parenthood

Easing back-to-school transitions -- for you and your child

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  August 26, 2010 04:08 PM

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At the end of the summer, almost everyone is facing some sort of transition. Parents have to adjust to juggling work and home and school-related responsibilities; kids may be worried about having homework for the first time (or, at least, for the first time since June). Whether your child is off to kindergarten or off to college, going to a new school or returning to the one she's always gone to, it's important to leave time to cope with the change that back-to-school time brings.

"You spend so much time getting your child ready for school, there's so much excitement, and you?re trying to help your child feel good about the transition," Amy Gold, director of curriculum and instruction at the Rashi School in Dedham and the mother of a second-grader, told me in an interview. "Parents forget what it means for them, that their child is going to school, some of them for the first time."

In the Parenthood is in the paper today, with advice for managing the back-to-school blues. Click here to read my full article, but if you're looking for some tips to use right away, here you go:

1. Start the transition process early.
"Parents need to begin transitioning children into the back-to-school routine early enough so they have time to adjust -- mentally and physically,?? says Laura Olson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy.

2. Keep children involved and excited. Talk about the things they'll be learning this school year, address any big changes, and ask kids for their input when picking out supplies or packing lunches. Attend back-to-school events, and try to connect in advance with kids (and parents) from their classrooms.

3. Practice new routines at home. Will kids have to lay their school clothes out the night before? Go to bed earlier? Pack their own lunches? Walk or bike to school by themselves? Practicing without pressure will help make these and other routines second nature by the time school starts.

4. Establish a routine for yourself. Do you know what you need to do to get everyone out of the house on time? It?s better to discover that you need more time in the mornings before you actually need more time in the mornings.

5. Learn how to handle homework. Create a clutter-free, dedicated place for your children to do their homework. Breaking the nightly assignments down into manageable steps can help your child avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Need more information? You can find it here. And veteran parents, please take a moment to share: How do you help your child get used to school after the summer ends?

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at and follow her on Twitter @WriteEditRepeat.

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about the author

Lylah M. Alphonse
Lylah M. Alphonse is a member of the Globe Magazine staff and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling a full-time career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day, and about everything else at Write. Edit. Repeat. When she's not glued to the computer or solving a kid-related crisis, she's in the kitchen or, occasionally, asleep.

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