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Countdown to school

Published in Sleep Medicine, For the Health of It Author: Sylvia Sundberg,MD

The transition from summertime fun to a structured school year is difficult for children. With a little planning, you can reduce your child’s anxiety and your stress.

Try these tips:

One week before school

  • Adjust your child’s bedtime a little every day until you reach the “school night” goal.
  • Host a playdate so your child can reconnect with a classmate.
  • Make one last trip to the beach or pool.
  • Take a walk to school or the bus stop.
  • Visit school and meet your child’s teacher.
  • Find a spot for doing homework (away from distractions and with good lighting).
  • Create a family wall calendar.
  • Assign spots for backpacks, coats and shoes.
  • For older kids, put together a kit for your child’s locker. Include bandages, mints, deodorant, lip balm, lint roller, hand sanitizer and tissues.

Day before school

  • Make up a secret handshake for saying goodbye to help ease separation anxiety.
  • Create a “to-do” list for your child’s morning routine. Use pictures if your child doesn’t read well.
  • Organize clothes for the week to keep the mornings on schedule.
  • Clear a pantry shelf and set up a self-serve station with snacks for children to grab for their backpacks or after school.
  • Wind down early with a favorite story at bedtime.

First day of school

  • Wake your child 15 minutes early to avoid having to rush.
  • Eat breakfast together.
  • Take a photo of your child.

As you talk to your child about school starting, point out the benefits to create positive anticipation about the first day of class. Talk about seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Reminisce about happy memories from the past school year.

Have an epic year at school!