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Helping Children Transition Back to School

A stack of books with a red apple on top of the stack, colored pencils and ABC blocks stacked on the right
Welcome Back to School

Nashville, Ark. – As the new school year gets ready to start, parents and children may have big worries. It may be the first day of kindergarten or a change to a new school. This change can be a tough transition. Parents can help alleviate their child’s fear and prepare them for a successful first day

 While parents may be tempted to “blow it off” and say things like, “Oh, don’t be silly,” or “A million other kids are going to school today and they’re fine, why are you being such a big baby?” This does not help. In fact, it may increase their anxiety.

Talk to your child about their fears of starting something new.

 Instead of minimizing the child’s fears, acknowledge the child’s anxiety by giving them a chance to talk about their fears. Show compassion. Then ask the child to work with you to come up with potential solutions to each of their fears. The message to the child is that anxiety is normal – and you have resources to find solutions. Patience and flexibility go a long way in helping relieve the stress of a new school year.

Starting a routine will smooth the school day blues.

Before the first bell rings, get into a routine. Routines cut down on anxiety, helps with time management and allows for increased independence. This does not happen overnight. Start now to get in the groove by the first day of school.

 Set consistent bedtimes and wake up times. Everyone needs rest, especially children. Older kids will want the freedom to go to bed later than younger kids, but everyone has to get up early on school days. Bedtime is for parents, too. Take a little time to decompress after the kids have gone to bed, but you need a consistent bedtime and wake time as much as your kids do.

Once school has begun, avoid overscheduling. Parents should not be afraid to say no to too many commitments. Be thoughtful about what you sign up for and what you allow your child to participate in. Remember, kids need down time too. Having extra curricular activities every afternoon does not allow for the down time.

 When school does start, you may need to adjust your routine even more. To help reduce stress, do as much preparation the night before. Make lunches, set out breakfast dishes, make sure homework is complete.

 Avoid morning screen time. Time flies when a child is sitting watching TV or gaming. Often, children who are eating breakfast while watching a screen, do not eat or do not eat quickly enough to leave on time. Some children get upset if their show isn’t over when its time to leave for school. Morning screen time adds to morning stress.

Good luck this school year! For more information on parenting, contact the Howard County Extension Office or check out our personal and family well-being resources. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Recipe of the Week

Smoothies are a great quick-to-fix breakfast for busy school mornings. This one uses fresh peaches, but frozen or canned will work too. Smoothies are basically any type of fruit mixed with yogurt, ice and liquid such as water, juice or milk. Try making one with veggies too. Spinach, kale and avocados are great in smoothies.

Peach Smoothie

  • ¾ cup plain yogurt

  • 2 fresh peaches, peeled and chopped, or 1 cup frozen peach slices

  • ½ large overripe banana, sliced (frozen, if possible)

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 ice cubes (if using nonfrozen fruit)

  • 6 toasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts

  1.   Put all ingredients in the blender.
  2. Blend at medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Divide into glasses and enjoy.
  4. May put leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 hours.

               Yield: 2 servings

     *Note: Try using Greek yogurt to increase protein. Vanilla yogurt adds a little             sweetness.


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517

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