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Back to School with ACLP: Transition Tips for Parents

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1. Start talking about and reading books 1-2 weeks before the “big day!” This can help ease anxiety and present kids with an opportunity to ask questions or concerns.

Book suggestions for young school-aged children:

Book suggestions for older school-aged children:

2. Attend a “Back to School Night” to help the child become familiar with their new environment and meet their teacher. 

If this is not possible, or the environment is too overwhelming, attempt to schedule a one on one meeting with the teacher to tour the classroom at a different time prior to school starting.

3. Use visual schedules to help with morning routines; you can also practice the routine prior to school starting. This allows the child to feel independent while also setting expectations.


4. Communicate with school administration and the child’s teacher if there are any specific accommodations your child might need to make their transition easier. Ideas include:

  • Fidget items at their desk
  • Special item from home (picture of the family, a book with a parents voice, comfort item, etc) allowed at school with them and set expectations for the child and teacher as to when they can be utilized.
  • Calm down space that can be used if child becomes overwhelmed.

5. Utilize the school counselor (connect with the counselor ahead of time if possible) if your child has additional needs beyond the help of the above tips.


Thank you to Lindsey Welch, CCLS, CTRS, CIMI at Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Marshfield, WI for contributing their expertise to this post.

Child Life Profession