Inside USF

Back to School Tips for Parents

Learn things you can do to help prepare for getting back into a routine.

The start of a new school year brings excitement and nervousness for both a parent and child. From finding the perfect outfit for the first day of school to getting back into the swing of school work and preparing lunches, getting back into a routine can be stressful and exhausting for parents and children alike.

Children may need help dealing with the stress that can occur when a routine changes. When a routine has changed children may become forgetful and exhausted more quickly.

As a parent, you might be worried about your child’s safety and emotional well-being as the school year begins. There are things you can do to help you and your child prepare for getting back into a routine with the start of school.

Planning ahead will make it easier for both of you. Many school districts will provide you with information on what to expect when sending your child back to school. There might have been changes to the school or a new teacher that is starting.

What your child might be feeling could include:
- Separation anxiety from a parent or caregiver
- Nervous about school work
- Worried about who he or she will sit with at lunch or play with at recess
- Nervous about being picked on by another child

Here are a few ways you can help your child ease back into a school routine:

Be positive.  If your child is nervous about returning to school and is struggling with being away from the rest of the family, talk to your child and reassure him or her that you will all be there upon returning from school. Offer to take a family photo and tape it to a notebook or pack it inside a backpack.
Communicate and talk. Be sure to talk with your child about what to expect in the new class and discuss things that he or she might learn throughout the school year. Offer to help with homework or questions that might come from new subjects being covered.

Encourage new friendships. Children can become nervous and anxious when thinking about who is in their class and who will be there to play with during lunch and recess. Encourage your child to make new friends during the first few weeks of school. Most schools do not allow children to pick their classes and they will need to make friends with children assigned to their class. Talk to your child about new relationships.

Start a routine early. Many children have been given flexibility to stay up past their "school night" bedtime during the summer. It might be helpful to start getting back to a routine a few weeks before school starts. This will help your child adjust to a schedule.

Set homework and curfew rules. Before school starts, plan a homework and curfew schedule. Set clear rules and expectations and ask for your child to participate in creating some of the rules.

Have fun. Preparing for school usually includes shopping for new school supplies. One way to help build excitement is to make this a fun tradition about returning to school. You can also organize your child’s room before returning to school for the year. This is a good way to encourage your child to practice different organization skills which might help with getting back into good habits with school.

Contact Us

Your USF EAP provides access to tools and other resources online at or call the EAP directly at 1-800-327-8705 to speak to a professional counselor who is available every day at any time to provide confidential assistance at no cost to you.

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