A little prep before school starts up is a smart move. New backpack? Check! Reusable lunch containers? Check! First day sign to hold? Check! 

Those are the fun steps you’ve got down. But when it comes to emotionally preparing your child for school, the strategies may seem less obvious. Use the following ideas to ensure a smooth transition from summer vacation to back-to-school time. 

Hit the playground

Instead of going to your usual playground, head to the one at your kid's school. It's a fun way to get your kid more comfortable with their school. And even if your kid is returning to the same school as last year, spending time at that playground can remind them of the good times they can have there. Want to make it even more fun? Ask a classmate to join! 

Restart the bedtime routine

After many weeks of only having to get up for camp, vacation, or easy days at home, your kid is likely going to bed later and waking up later. And that’s okay, just don’t expect your kid to return to their old bedtime routine overnight. Ease into it, starting at least five to seven nights before the first day of school.

Set meals on autopilot

If breakfast goes relatively smoothly, so will your whole morning. Chat with your kid now about their preferences and have them pick one or two options. Same for lunch, if they take one to school, and snacks. To really get buy-in, have older kids go to the grocery store with you to pluck the agreed-upon items off the shelves.

Do a trial run

Once you know what time the bus comes, work backward to figure out when you should wake your kid up.


  • How much time does your kid take to eat breakfast?
  • How long will it take them to get dressed, and brush their teeth and hair?
  • Will your kid decide on clothes the night before or that morning? Hint: The correct answer is the former!
  • When and who is making the packed lunches?
  • Will you also need to be ready for the day or​ will you have time to go home after the bus comes?

Pick a morning to do a full trial run. Afterward, assess what worked and what didn't. Since you're all dressed and ready to go, surprise your kid with a trip to the zoo or aquarium or use the time to try out the school playground!

Think beyond week one

The second or third week can be harder than the first week because the excitement of the new school year has worn off. So don’t be surprised if your kid says, “I don’t want to go to school,” after a successful first week. Remind them of their resilience. Give cuddles and hugs, listen to their concerns, and reassure them that their feelings are okay. 

Take the school year day by day, and it will be a great year! If you or your child are looking for advice or guidance, you can join Maven today for 24/7 access to on-demand support for parents and kids.

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