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Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on


We are officially at that point of the summer where our children are beginning their transition back to school.   

Though you may already have bought supplies for your children or, if you are a teacher, your classroom, you likely understand that it takes more than just pencils and notebooks to get a kid ready to undergo another school year.  

Putting on a backpack is not the only thing that needs to be done to ensure your child’s return to school is successful, so read on for some of our practical tips for making sure your child and the school year get off on the right foot.  


Don’t Let the First Day of School Be a Shock 

One of the biggest shocks for kids is that first day of the school year when they have to wake up early.  

If they have been spending the summer going to bed late at night and sleeping in until double-digit morning hours, then having to wake up at or before 7 AM is a struggle.  

When kids have to deal with the “shock” of waking up early again, their ability to focus will be impacted, and their performance in school could be impacted.  

This is because of something called the circadian rhythm, a concept developed by sleep researchers that explains how our bodies can “synch up” to the hours of the day. When a student’s circadian rhythm has become aligned with sleeping in late, then the student’s mind and body will still be stuck in “sleep mode” during those early morning classes.  

Additionally, students will also struggle to go to bed early enough as well, so the net result is less sleep, and more difficulty in school.  

A simple way to prevent this from happening is by getting your child to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier in the few weeks before school starts, which a Time Timer visual timer can be instrumental in.  

If you want your child to go to bed at a certain time, you need to first determine what time they are currently going to bed. If it is at, say, 11:30 PM, suddenly imposing a 9:30 or 10 PM bedtime and 6:30 AM wakeup is going to be an unsettling adjustment, one that your child is not going to make in one night.  

What you need to do is ease into the ideal bedtime, and one way to do this is to put out a Time Timer visual timer for an hour before bedtime, letting your child know that when the colored disk is gone, it is time to sleep.  


Refresh Your Kid’s Knowledge in Fun and Unique Ways 

Getting up early is only one part of the battle for students, as another aspect of school that your child may dread is learning. Long division, reading books, and the like tend to appear boring to kids who have spent a couple of months playing in the world instead of learning about it.  

As it is with an early bedtime, you should not just suddenly impose a math test on your child and expect them to have a good response. Instead, that will only make them dread school, and desire summer, even more.  

The solution here is to get creative and think of ways you could get your kid interested in school again. 

For science, perhaps go for a walk in the park and point out what you see, such as large trees and animals, and act curious, instilling in your kid a sense of wanting to answer why a squirrel is able to climb up a tree so fast, or what makes leaves change color. Developing a curiosity in children about the world around them, and making it appear interesting, will make them naturally desire to learn more about the things they encounter in life.  

Most schools assign summer reading, so your kid may already be dreading that. One way to get your kid interested in their summer reading is to get them interested in reading another book first, one of their choice, so that they can get into the rhythm of reading. This can also be good for limiting screen time, which can have a positive impact on a student’s ability to focus, as screen time has been shown to negatively impact students’ focus 

If your child is reading-resistant, then bringing in the Time Timer can be a big help. If you set a daily fifteen-minute increment for reading, then your child will be much more amenable to the idea of reading. Having to read X number of pages always sounds more daunting than reading for a certain number of minutes, because it is never certain just how long it will take to get through that number of pages. With a Time Timer visual timer, your kid will always know how long they need to read.  

Back-To-School Transition for Kids with Cognitive Differences 

At Time Timer, we understand that not every method is one-size-fits-all, which is why we understand that children with Autism, OCD, ADHD, or other cognitive differences can struggle more with back-to-school transitions than other kids.  

Kids with cognitive differences may get more anxious as school starts up again, so it is especially important to help them make the adjustment for returning to school.  

Helping your child map out their school day can be especially helpful, so that they can know what to expect during a given day.  

Our Time Timer products are used by many parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with children with cognitive differences. The Time Timer visual timer is especially helpful for these students because it makes it easier to grasp the concept of time with a simple, readily visible representation of how much time is left.  

For example, getting your child used to getting up in the morning and getting to school on time can be done with a Time Timer, where you set however much time they have to get ready between waking up and walking out the door. You can do the same for lunchtime as well, where you sync that with when they will be eating lunch or taking breaks during the school day as well. Then, on the actual first day of school, they will already be used to the routine.  


More Uses for Time Timer Products 
Want to know about more uses that the Time Timer visual timer has for students? Check out our website’s pages for the Time Timer in education or special needs. 


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