Transitioning Back to School...Already?!

By Alisha Bennett, LMSW

It’s hard to believe that it is already mid-August and summer is coming to an end.  Right around the corner is September, and  so there are just a few short weeks left until the routine of the school year starts back up.  This transition can be difficult for a lot of us after a summer of relaxation, sleeping in, and vacationing.  Here are some tips for parents of children, college students, and teachers for making this transition a little easier on you this year. 

Start to structure your day little by little. If you’ve enjoyed the freedom of not planning your or your child’s day, start to do this a little more each day. Going from zero structure to a lot of structure may make it hard to get back into the swing of a school day. You can make a visual schedule of the day with an established wake-up time (or range), and a schedule of a few activities that are planned for the day.  For a child, this can be made into a poster that you hang up on a wall for them to see. For adults, this can be done in a bullet journal format or just a simple checklist. 

Make checklists for routines that you want you or your child to get back into. If it’s a nightly routine: packing a bag, lying out clothes, brushing teeth, and getting to bed by  _:00pm, make a visual checklist. This can also be done for a morning routine: waking up by _:00am, brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc. 

Start to get back on a sleep routine. If there hasn’t been a bed-time all summer (and I don’t blame you, that’s one of the many freedoms of summer break), start to establish one. Make this reasonable and break it down into increments every few nights. Don’t try to go from 1am to 10pm in one night. Start to go to bed a little earlier every night by 15-20 minutes and wake up 15-20 minutes earlier. Then by the time post-Labor day comes, you hopefully won’t be staying up too late and have to wake up super early. Getting a good night’s sleep will give you energy for that first week of school Hopefully, getting into the habit of doing some of these things will make the first couple weeks back feel a little less uncomfortable and tiring.

Alisha Bennett is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy.  If you are looking for support with parenting or navigating transitions, visit to see how therapy can help.