Tips for Back to School Transitioning

Back to School Transition

How to Help Your Kids Transition Back to School


by Dr. Craig Pierce

Dr. Craig Pierce, founder and president of the Southwest Family Guidance Center and Institute, and author of Parenting Without Distraction: The Attunetion® Approach, is offering tips for parents to have a smooth transition back to school. Preparing for school, and readjusting to the new routines after the summer break can be stressful for parents and children alike.

“Millions of parents find themselves stressed out preparing for back to school – shopping for school supplies and clothes, figuring out the day-to-day time management, juggling multiple obligations and easing the kids back into doing homework,” Dr. Pierce said. “If parents start paying Attunetion (paying attention and tuning in) the transition can be a smooth one.”

Dr. Pierce offers the following suggestions for tuning into the right thing, at the right time and in the right way:

Tuning in to the Right Things:

  • First, stop and tune in to your kids. Pay attention to them and give them your undivided attention;
  • Take an inventory of what was stressful both for you and your kids last year. Reflecting on the difficulties will help you prepare for them going into a new school year.
  • Ask questions like “What can I do to help you at homework time?” or “What would make the morning less hectic for you?”
  • Notice what events and times of day are most stressful for you. For example, if getting everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time is stressful and a source of struggle, that’s the area to manage and to create strategies around.

Tuning in at the Right Time:

  • The best time to begin managing stress is NOW. Don’t wait until the stress takes a toll on your family to deal with it;
  • What are the fears and worries of your children (i.e. for a preschooler it may be separation anxiety, for a middle school student it may be fitting in, peer pressure or being bullied and for a high school student it may be extra-curricular activities or getting accepted to a college)?

Tuning in the Right Way:

  • Get ready for school the night before by making lunches, packing backpacks and laying out clothes;
  • Make time to take care of yourself. Take a walk, a bath or meet a friend;
  • Make a family calendar. Post it in the kitchen and update regularly so everyone knows what’s going on;
  • Share duties with other parents. Take turns picking up kids or taking them to practice;
  • When your kids get home from school, set aside 20 minutes for a snack, or walk around the block, and ask how their day was before jumping into homework.

Dr. Pierce recommends parents pay attunetion to their children daily. “Trust yourself to know your child better than anyone, and that you know what is best for them,” he said. “We make our best choices when we stop and think about the right things, at the right time and in the right way.”


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