Wonderful Ways to Get Back to School

Tips for School Readiness and Transitioning to Preschool or Kindergarten

The start of the school year can be a big change for children.

Your child may feel happy to see friends and excited to go back to school, or they may feel nervous or sad about starting a new school, making friends, or leaving you. It’s okay for them to have big feelings. It’s important to remember that feelings come and go — they won’t feel this way all the time.   

Here are some ways you can help your child transition back to school: 

Play School! 

To help prepare your child for what their day may be like in the classroom, you can play pretend school. You can pretend to be the teacher and your child can be the student. Together, go through a day of activities such as reading a story as they would in circle time, building with blocks as they would in the Block Center, and painting a picture as they would in the Art Center. You can also demonstrate strategies your child will use at school, like listening with their whole body, raising their hand if they have something to say, and standing in line and waiting their turn, just like Elmo does in this video.

You can also switch roles! Next time you play school, your child can be the teacher and you can be the student. Playing pretend is a great way to prepare your child for their new routine, fair ways to play and cooperate with friends, learn self-control, and cope with their feelings.  

Glitter Jar

During times of big feelings, invite your child to shake the jar and watch the glitter swirl around. Fill a clean plastic bottle or jar about ¾ of the way with warm water. Then your child can add colorful glitter and 2-3 drops of clear glue. Close and seal the lid with more glue. Now, your child can shake and watch the glitter swirl all around. You can tell your child that the glitter is like their feelings swirling around inside of them. As they watch the glitter float down, it can help their body feel better. A glitter jar is also something they can pack in their backpacks and use at school too if they have a big feeling. 

Share a bracelet

If your child is feeling nervous or sad about leaving you for the day, tie a loose piece of ribbon around yours and your child’s wrists. Every time your child looks at it, it can remind them that they’ll see you at the end of the school day.   

Remember to tell your child how proud you are of them for going back to school or starting a new school. When you help your child feel seen, heard, and loved, you’re building a sense of safety, security, and confidence that will last a lifetime.  

Together with your child, watch this video that focuses on adult-child bonds and celebrates the special pride parents and caregivers have for their children. Tell your child what you think is wonderful about them. Then, on a second viewing, sing along together and move around in any way you like. And…end with a hug!