How to Get Back Into a School Routine

While the holidays offer a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they can easily throw your thoughtfully-constructed schedule out of order. Getting your child back into a school routine after winter break can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a few strategies for successfully easing your student into the back-to-school transition. Creating a list of goals for the spring semester, encouraging a smart sleep schedule, and supporting your child through the common jitters of starting a new semester can help make the change easier. 

Looking to help your child start the new year off on the right foot? Here’s how to get back into a school routine:

Get back into a school routine by listing important dates and goals in a planner

Whether your family prefers to use an assignment book, a calendar, or a planner, set aside time before school starts to write down any important dates. When looking for significant items to mark in your calendar, ask yourself questions like: 

  • What are some dates to keep in mind, including family events, holidays, or travel dates? 

  • Are there any major assignments that your child already knows about or projects that you can note on the calendar? 

This type of exercise can help both you and your child envision what’s happening in the near future and make the transition less overwhelming. What’s also helpful is planning out—tentatively—a weekly or daily routine once your child goes back to school. Things to consider include wake up and bed times, when your child will do homework, and any extracurricular activities. 

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Get back into a school routine by implementing a sleep schedule 

A good sleep routine is sometimes one of the first things to fall to the wayside during the holidays. A week or a few days before school starts, begin practicing healthy sleep habits like having a cutoff time for technology. You can incorporate some “wind down” activities into your nightly routine as well, like reading, drawing, or coloring before bed. Some people also like to go to bed incrementally earlier each night until school starts. 

Get back into a school routine by minimizing last-minute decisions and purchases

Set aside time before school starts to take an inventory of your child’s school supplies. Is there anything that needs replenishing? Are there any books that they need to buy or borrow from the library? This is also a great time to do a wardrobe check and see if your child is prepared for what is often cold weather. Finally, spend time working on minimizing decisions and tasks during the morning rush, like what to wear and what to put in their backpack. This can make your morning routine much less stressful.  

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Get back into a school routine by offering support for back-to-school jitters

Your child might be nervous, sad, excited, or feel a mixture of feelings before going back to school—all of which are completely normal. It can be very helpful as a parent to guide them through or teach them strategies to process these emotions. You might encourage them to write in a journal, draw a picture, or simply spend some time talking about and acknowledging these feelings and any anxieties. It might be helpful to practice some mindfulness exercises, like meditation, deep breathing, or engaging in hobbies and exercising. 

Get back into a school routine by planning a future event your child will look forward to

Especially if the back-to-school transition is nerve-wracking, take some time to plan a future event your child or your family collectively can look forward to. This helps ease the difficulty of returning to a less fun schedule. It can be a favorite meal, a field trip with the family, or an event related to your child’s interests or hobbies. 

[RELATED: How Parents Can Help Students Set—and Achieve—Academic Goals

Keep in mind that transitions are generally stressful, so there might be more arguments or heightened emotions during this time. Don’t worry—this is normal. Just keep your lines of communication open and encourage your child to talk to you about worries, stresses, and thoughts as school starts again. 

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