Preparing for Change

Adolescent Centered Environments
June 2, 2015
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
October 8, 2015

The summer is long and, hopefully, it was a lot of fun! Your child or adolescent has probably been sleeping in, and doing a lot of things on his/her own time. Back to school and all of the other routines that it entails can be a difficult transition. Here are some tips to make that transition a little smoother:

  • Establish a Sleep Schedule: Two weeks before school starts, have your child or adolescent start adhering to a bedtime that will allow them to get at least 8.5 hours of sleep. In addition, try waking them up or having them use their alarm clocks to start waking up around the time that they will need to start waking up to get prepared for the school day. This will make the transition to the fall schedule a little easier.
  • First Day Jitters: The first days can be chaotic, especially if your child or adolescent is adjusting to a new school. Try to arrange for your child or adolescent to visit his/her new classroom or new school before classes begin. Take a tour of the building and know where important places like the cafeteria, gymnasium, principal and counseling offices, the RAHS health center, and the bathrooms are located. If the school’s office provides a map, get a map of the school for your child or adolescent. Have your child or adolescent choose their outfit for the first day of school in advance or offer to help them put an outfit together. This will ease the transition of getting ready on the first day of school. In addition, have your child or adolescent bring in their backpack, stocked with supplies and any necessary paperwork on the first day of school. This will make the transition back to learning a little less stressful. Also, make sure there is a plan in place for lunch, whether they are bringing lunch or buying it in the cafeteria.
  • Emotional Transition: Children and adolescents often feel anxious, scared, or excited about the beginning of a new school year. It’s normal to feel nervous the first day of school, especially if your child or adolescent is adjusting to a new school. Try to have your child or adolescent think back to previous “first days,” and how they got through them, in order to help them cope with their anxiety. Re-assure them that their feelings are normal. Also, make sure that your child or adolescent knows where the school counselors office and the RAHS health center are located, in case he/she needs to speak with someone about their feelings.
  • Making New Friends: It can be difficult to make new friends or to become re-acquainted with classmates that we already know. Encourage your child or adolescent to take small steps, like saying hello to one or two new people a day, or asking a new person to sit with them at lunch. Also, encourage your child or adolescent to re-acquaint themselves with their classmates from last year. This can ease the transition back to school as well.

Getting back to school is an adjustment, but with some planning and support, the transition can be a smooth one!