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Smooth Sailing into the School Year

Heading back to school can be an exciting - and overwhelming - time for kids. Starting in a new school or a new classroom can be stressful. Here are some tips to make this transition a positive experience for your child and your family:​

  • INVOLVE YOUR CHILD IN PREP. Invite her or him to select and gather the school supplies needed to take to the new class. For young children, select a favorite change of clothes and a special family photo together.

  • TALK ABOUT CHANGE. Encourage your child to talk about how he or she feels. Resist the urge to make it all seem rosy and bright. Listen, reflect, and listen some more. Expect some "big" feelings. The board game Sunny and Story Day gets the conversation started in a fun way with young children.

  • CREATE A GOOD-BYE RITUAL. Make drop-off time a moment to connect with your child. Go through the same steps when you separate each time; for example, rub noses or blow a kiss. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a delightful book to read together when introducing a ritual of your own.

  • NIGHT-BEFORE ROUTINE. Take 20 minutes the night before to be sure everything that can be done ahead of time, is done. Pack backpacks and leave them by the door. Make lunches. Lay out clothes for the next day. Less to do in the morning makes for a smoother start to the day.

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