Simple Parenting

The End-of-School Transition Can Be Tricky. Here’s Help.

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Chances are, your elementary-aged child may be looking forward to summer more that you are. But even with the excitement of the school year ending, the summer transition (like most transitions!) can be a rocky one. Try these strategies to make the end of the year a positive, stress-free time for your child.

Make Small Changes to Ease the Transition

Parents Magazine has some tips for families entering the end-of-school countdown, with a reminder that even good changes can be hard on kids.

  1. Stick to a schedule: Even with all of the end-of-year events and activities, limit your family’s activities to ensure your child is still getting enough sleep.
  2. Maintain friendships: Your child may be nervous about losing touch with friends, especially if they are transitioning to a new classroom or school. If you can, get some dates on the calendar to reconnect with classmates or meet new children who may be in summer programs with your child.
  3. Watch your words: Be thoughtful about when and how you mention the start of the next school year, and know that many kids don’t have a good sense of how far away that is.
  4. Bridge school and summer: Talk about what your child enjoyed most from the current year (writing, making art, particular sports?). Can you continue supporting those activities at home to connect the school year to your summer?

Help Your Child Capture the Best of the School Year

To help cement some of the year’s biggest take homes for your child, you can use some of the following creative questions and prompts:

  • What’s one of the funniest or strangest things that happened at school this year?
  • What’s one way that you’re different now from how you were at the start of the school year?
  • What’s one thing you’ll miss about school over the summer?
  • Who is a new friend you didn’t know at the beginning of the year?
  • What’s one thing you can do now that you never imagined you’d be able to do?
  • What’s one thing you want to do differently at school next year?

Don’t Forget the Power of Thank You

Think you feel busy with the end of the school year approaching? Imagine how your child’s teachers feel!

It’s a crazy time of year for all of us, but if you can, encourage your child to draw a picture or write a quick note to your teacher (or write a quick one yourself). Sharing a specific, positive memory and your appreciation can go a long way to letting your teachers know that they made a difference this year.

ParentsTogether is a nonprofit organization that  provides resources, connections, and community that help kids and parents thrive. We also help families take action together to build a positive future for all our kids.

Ailen is the Managing Editor at ParentsTogether. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two spirited boys.