Back to School: 6 Ways to Help Children with Transitions

Back to school season means a new beginning for children. How do you prepare children for what is next?

New beginnings can be scary, but they are also great opportunities for parents, providers, and professionals to help their children build resilience.  Resilient children become resilient adults that can effectively navigate transitions and challenges throughout life, including going to college, starting a new job, moving to a new city, and more.  

So how can you best support children through transitions?

  1. Know the Child: Their age, personality, and temperament are all important factors to consider when supporting your child through a transition.  Listen for their verbal and non-verbal cues to better understand when and how to support them.

  2. Communicate Often. All children need the time and opportunity to process information and ask questions.  Incorporate conversations into your normal routines or plan special one-on-one time.  Let your child visit the new school or classroom and ask them what they like about their visit.  

  3. Be Empathetic and Respect Children’s Feelings. Allow them to work through their feelings with you. Use your conversations as an opportunity to model empathy and compassion.  

  4. Provide Consistency. Keep your daily routines and structure consistent even as you and your child are going through the transition.  This will help your child adjust to the change while feeling safe and secure at home and at school.

  5. Allow Opportunities for Children to Role Play, Write, Draw, or Read About the Transition. Let your child be the teacher and you the new student.  This gives them the opportunity to prepare, explore their feelings, and ask questions.  

  6. Understand Your Own Feelings about Transitions. Often how we deal with change impacts how we support our children. Be aware of your own reactions and the support you need as well.

Want more advice on transitions? Watch the video of Roxeanna Steiner (early childhood education specialist at LUME) give tips on how to make transitions easier with your children by clicking here

By Jessica Sims and Rachel Dixon