Making the Back-to-School Transition Easier


Making the Back-to-School Transition Easier

Although it feels like summer just began, it’s already time to start thinking about heading back to school. Dr. Amber Denham, a pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group, shares these tips to make the transition easier:

  • Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician now. Make sure all immunizations are up-to-date and be sure to complete any necessary physical exams for extracurricular activities.
  • Consider your child’s backpack when purchasing school supplies. Look for a properly fitted backpack with two padded shoulder straps and a padded back. If your child will have a heavy load, a waist strap can take some of the pressure off the shoulders. Learn more about selecting the right backpack for your kids with these tips from Dr. Denham on YouTube.
  • Review your routine and get back on schedule. It’s important to set a bedtime and wake up routine that allows for plenty of rest before the school year starts.
  • Plan ahead for nutritious meals. School nights are busy and combining them with extracurricular activities can feel chaotic. Spend a few minutes each week planning meals before going to the grocery store. Having a plan for dinner can eliminate some of the stress of a busy school night.
  • Check in regularly and get involved. Volunteering at school and talking with your child each day about the lessons or events of the day show that school is important and that you are interested and you care.
  • Start each day with some good fuel. The old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has an element of truth to it – when you give your body the proteins it needs, you’ll find the day (and your metabolism) will run much smoother. Breakfast gives kids the energy they need to fully wake up and start their day.
  • Location, location, location. Keeping school supplies, homework, and other necessities organized helps lessen kids’ anxiety when they need to find the items, but also helps teach them the valuable lesson of the importance that everything has its place. Kids can put this into practice with their own backpacks, too.
  • Talk it out. Make a habit of keeping open lines of communication with your kids – even the quiet ones, even the boys, and even the teenagers – by telling one thing you liked and one thing you didn’t like about your day. This could be done on the drive home, during family dinner, or after homework is done. Kids may be reluctant to share at first, but showing interest in the negative and positive aspects of your children’s lives shows them you care about their school day beyond their grades.
  • Show school spirit. Does your child’s school need volunteers for an upcoming fair? Maybe you don’t have spare time, but you can donate items or attend with your kids. What about clubs or sports teams your children are interested in? Be aware of what activities your kids’ school offers, and encourage support for the school by example. Even if your children aren’t old enough to participate in something they enjoy, can they attend the competition? You can develop new connections within your family and make other friends in the community by exploring interests outside of the ones you typically are involved in.
  • Keep moving. Just because summer is winding down and playtime is at a minimum, don’t let your kids’ exercise time become completely null and void. Make sure they get some physical activity in during the day or evening. This will help keep their bodies and minds active, and won’t hurt when it’s time to go to bed at night, either.
  • Jazz it up. Is it science project time? Has your child’s class been assigned another book report? Will the word problem homework ever end? There are ways to get some smiles during even the most dreaded tasks. Not everything is going to be fun, but it can be funny. Even if you have an inside joke with the kids about word problems while helping them with their homework, replacing some of the anxiety with lightheartedness can take pressure off everyone involved.

Looking for a pediatrician? Learn more about Dr. Denham at