Back to School – The Good, The Bad and The Transitions

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It’s here! Another school year means new changes and some old bad habits too. What to expect when your children returns to the classroom and the home.


Back-to-school time can be exciting. Seeing familiar faces, making new friends, wearing new shoes, feeling bigger and smarter than ever before. It can be stressful too, with new grown-ups in charge, new ways of doing things, more expectations and responsibilities than last year.


Many parents and caregivers may notice different moods in their kids at this time. We may expect a little anxiety, some stress, tiredness or apprehension. But something else to consider is behavioral changes – these are totally par for the course and, usually, any disruptions will fade in time. Your sweet child will return!


What is happening? And why? Why now?


Kids need time to adjust to the new routine and expectations. It can be absolutely exhausting to keep it together all day long. Focusing on their best behavior at school can lead to not-so-great behavior in the evenings. Grown-ups need time to unwind after work, and it’s no different for kids.


Sometimes, once kids are back at home with you and feeling comfy is when you’ll see the worst of it. The tantrums. The bickering. The rule-breaking. The good thing is that your kid is probably not acting like that at school. But when you witness the “after-school attitude,” know that you’re not alone.


What can I do?


A little patience goes a long way.

Compassion, food, sleep, minimal scheduling and quiet time all help. There’s no harm in slacking on chores or social obligations until the adjustment period is over. Read more here. According to this author, these difficulties should work themselves out in two weeks to a month. Fingers crossed!


And, when the flurry of back-to-school dies down, there are ways to encourage your child’s good school behavior at home.



Read some of these books. Remind your kid what the morning routine will be. Have them lay out their clothes and backpack the night before. Discuss what breakfast will be and what time everyone will need to leave the house. Teach them how to spell their teacher’s name. Talk about what will happen after school and who will pick them up. If it’s Junior Explorers, remind your child where we will pick up at their school and to look for the white bus or counselor in a red shirt!


Create checklists.

Checklists help us stay organized and empower kids to participate in planning their day and let them know what they can expect. Make one for what needs to be the backpack before leaving the house. One for behavior expectations. One for the back-to-school bedtime routine.


Tip: Create these together when the child is in an agreeable mood. Don’t create these as a punishment after bad behavior.


Emphasize the positives.

You get to do safety patrol this year! You’ll start band! You get to play on the big playground! You’ll be using computers! You get to be a big buddy! Anything that is new and different from last year can seem exciting and should be talked about as the positive side of change.


Let us know how we can help.

Does your kid need downtime after school? Or maybe they need to run around and move about freely? Are there certain behaviors you’re trying to encourage or discourage? Let us know what’s going on and we’ll help reinforce what you’re working on at home.


More resources


Check out this article for more tips on making this a smooth transition… because it’s a transition for parents, too. Homework reminders. Packing lunches. If you’re feeling ambitious, first-day-of-school teacher gifts. Drinks.