Family reading together
family sitting together reading

Originally written by Larissa Marulli, expert with

After a long winter vacation, getting your child back into a school routine can be a bit of a challenge. We all know by now that teachers are amazing, so they're prepared for your kids after winter vacation, and they're expected to be tired. Kids can be less than enthused about going back to school after the excitement of the holidays and being home with family.

This year is still looking different, and many kids will still be doing remote learning. They'll still need to get used to a good school routine even if they aren't going anywhere. Winter vacation is a wonderful break from mundane life but it's time to start learning again. Have an easier transition for your child, yourself, their teachers, and everyone else with these helpful back-to-school tips.


1. Put Your Kids to Bed Earlier

If winter break has changed your sleep schedule, it's time to get back on track. Get your kids to sleep thirty minutes earlier every night gradually. Start a few days before school begins so that the first day back after the winter break is easier for everyone. This one is crucial because waking up in the morning after time off is brutal. Especially winter when it's still all dark and cold.


2. ...And Wake Them Up

Equally important to getting your kids back on a consistent bedtime is waking them up at a consistent time in the morning. Again, ease them into it by waking them up just a little bit earlier every morning before school starts. No promises it will go well, but at the very least your kids won't be surprised when school starts again. The first morning of waking them up will be hard but will be worth it on the actual morning.


3. Talk About It

Be open about when school is starting again and when winter break is ending. Don't let it be a surprise. You can also help your child become more excited by having a conversation about the good things about going back to school: seeing friends, learning more, getting back into a routine, no more boredom.


4. Get The School Supplies Together

Whether your child is returning to in-person or doing remote learning, prep for an easy transition by getting all school supplies together in one place. A couple of days before winter break comes to an end have your child help you, ( or do it themselves depending on age), find everything they need for school Get it all ready to go or organize their work from home station. It will make it feel more real.


5. Instill Some Quiet Time

In the days leading up to school, have your kids do at least 30 minutes of reading a day. Of course, they can do more if they want or if they are a bit older. Designating a specific quiet time with some reading will help with getting more into an academic setting. It will also give you a break. Whenever you want, send your kid to their room or work area to do some reading and get lost in a world of literacy.


6. Validate Their Feelings

As school approaches, your kids may begin to feel anxious or irritable. That's normal, and when your child feels that way, they want you to listen. Therapist Courtney Brandon out of Knoxville, TN recommends using fantasy statements to ease the mood. As an example, if your child expresses a need to stay home, answer them with something with silly. For instance, if they want to stay home, tell them you do too so you can just eat candy all day and never work again. That should break the mood. If it doesn't, simply listen and let them know what they're feeling is normal.


7. Keep Them Active

Kids love to move and have so much energy to run off. In the days before school begins, get your kids outside and moving. Have them burn off all their youthful energy. It's good for them and this should hopefully make their earlier bedtimes easier to enforce. Running around and physical activity is a way of life for kids. Make sure they do it by throwing them outside or visiting some walking trails.


8. Limit Electronics and Screen Time

Winter vacation likely involved more TV and tablet time than normal. When school starts again, they won't be able to play on their screens as much. Limit how much they use their electronic use in the days leading back to school. Make sure they know it's not a punishment and part of getting back into a daily routine.


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