Back to School: How to Help Your Child Transition

A new school year means new routines, dealing with unknown, and a lot of change for your little one to navigate. For parents/caregivers, it can be very exciting and stressful at the same time as well. Here are 5 tips to help crate a smoother transition this school year…


Plan and talk ahead of time with your child to help create a smoother transition. Remember that children sense your moods – stress, anxiety, guilt, joy, comfort, confidence – so how you speak about these upcoming changes will plant the seed for how your child will feel about them, too. Speak calmly and confidently when discussing and planning.


Early Childhood Teachers have dealt with it all. Be open with them and involve them in your transition process. Talk to the teacher about your child’s separation anxiety, about their likes and dislikes, if there’s something that they feel very strongly about, etc. This will help the teacher create a drop off routine that will work for your child.

Teachers may also give you a “script” for drop off, or a specific routine to follow. This is to help both the parents and the child feel calm and comfortable. It might not feel like your normal interaction, but that’s okay. Trust your teacher and try their suggestions. They’re experienced, knowledgable, and there to help you.


Build your child’s trust by speaking honestly with them about their upcoming day. Parents/ caregivers tend to try to hide their own anxieties or put their child at ease by hyping up the day and saying things like, “It’s gong to be the best day ever!” If that ends up not being true for the child, that leaves room to lose their trust. Instead, speak with them about their schedule. Children feel more comfortable when they know what to expect, and they also will learn to trust more when they see that what you said would happen really did.


Create a schedule for the mornings, and stick to it. Knowing what to expect provides your child with a comforting sense of control and security.


Clear your after pick up schedule. A full day of school for your child is equal to a full day of work for you. Even if it was the best day ever, your child will need some time to decompress, process and relax before they’re ready to tackle the next tasks such as grocery shopping. Downtime is necessary for everyone – make it part of your daily schedule.

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