Adjusting Routines Before School Starts May Ease Transition to Class

Don't try to change your schedule overnight, expert suggests

SATURDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Adjusting routines before school starts can make it easier for families when children return to classrooms after summer vacation, an expert says.

"Returning to the routine of the school year can be overwhelming for adults and students," Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

"During the school year there's a sleep schedule, a tighter timeframe for performing household chores and the sense of fewer hours in the day. Altogether, this can lead to debilitating anxiety," he explained.

Advance preparation for the new school year is crucial.

"Throughout the summer months, you and your children have developed new habits and routines. Breaking those is extremely difficult to accomplish in a day," Klapow said. But introducing routine changes beforehand can ease the transition from summer holidays to the new school year.

"This means adjusting bed times and morning alarms starting now. If they already haven't been reading through the summer, have the children pick up a book for at least 20 minutes a day, to mimic homework time. This helps everybody in the household re-adapt," Klapow said.

It's important for parents to remain calm and composed, he added.

"You need to keep your emotions in check. Your children will pick up on your feelings; you set the tone. If you're excited and positive about the beginning of school, your child is more likely to be. If you're feeling frantic and unprepared, that's what your child will pick up on," Klapow said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children going back to school.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, July 26, 2011

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