Many children approach going back to school with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. It brings the opportunity for more time with friends, but kids worry about the new demands. This uncertainty often brings some worry and feelings of sadness. Here are some tips for helping your child transition a bit easier into the new school year. 1) Set the expectations early on.  Ask your child what they are imagining things will be like this school year as a starting point for this conversation. This will help you be sure you are on the same page and clarify any miscommunications.  For example, will your child be dropped off or taking the bus? Getting a hot lunch or bringing lunch? 2) Set a clear schedule. Kids do better when they have a consistent schedule, especially when it comes to sleep and mealtimes. It is also helpful to schedule in homework time and some time each day for quiet activities such as reading or playing alone to give your child a chance to rest and reset. This is especially helpful for children who tantrum or get grumpy toward the end of the day.  3) Set limits on screen time activities.  Remember, screens are made to be engaging, so if given a choice, many kids will choose to use technology instead of playing outside or doing something creative.  4) Be sure your child is getting physical activity. For many children, sports and other regularly scheduled activities may be paused due to the pandemic. Exercise is important to maintain good physical and mental health. Perhaps you can go for family walks or bike rides regularly to model healthy habits. 5) Be patient. Remember that starting something new, like a new grade, often comes with feelings of being overwhelmed. If possible, try to arrange your schedule to be more available to your child after school during the first week. Do your best to be more nurturing and expect that your child may be tired from the adjustment. Try to give your child more time to relax and unwind in the evening.  Difficulties with the transition are often short-lived and once expectations for school and home are clear, most kids settle in within the first month. If your child continues to have difficulty, you may want to speak to a counselor that can help your child develop some strategies to cope better with the change. 

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