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Smoother Back-to-School Transitions

Smoother Back-to-School Transitions

By |2023-07-19T13:03:31-04:00July 12th, 2023|Categories: Health A-Z|Tags: , |

For kids, nothing beats summer’s bright and balmy months for rest, rejuvenation, and fun. But the season is always fleeting – and back-to-school concerns may soon present themselves, especially for adolescents transitioning to new schools.

According to CentraState child and adolescent psychiatrist Ankur Desai, MD, the transitions from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school are significant. In addition to the adjustment from summer to school, these adolescents must adapt to a change in their physical environment, more responsibilities, and a new social landscape.

“Middle school may be the first time pre-teens are rotating classes and teachers, using lockers, and managing their schedules, which requires more executive functioning,” explains Dr. Desai. “Starting high school is another huge transition that runs parallel to the developmental task of establishing a sense of personal identity.”

He notes that school transitions can be more difficult in the wake of the pandemic, which set many students back academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition, overexposure to social media can leave teens feeling more vulnerable and isolated.

Dr. Desai offers these tips to help your adolescent feel more confident when starting the school year.

SCHEDULE SUMMER MEETUPS

Create opportunities for your child to get to know future classmates over the summer to ease social transitions.

EXPLORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

Visit the school’s website together to build enthusiasm for activities and opportunities they might like to explore, whether it’s sports, marching band, or art club. School activities provide a great opportunity to develop healthy social connections and friendships in a supportive environment.

STAY AHEAD OF SUMMER ASSIGNMENTS

Setting aside just 30 minutes each day for academic activity can go a long way in preventing future academic struggles and reducing late-summer stress.

MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY

Kids need restorative sleep, especially as their brains are still developing. Eight to 10 hours of sleep is ideal but helping them strive for seven to nine may be more realistic.

PLAN A DRY RUN PERIOD

While it may take some convincing or incentives, begin a sleep-wake schedule two to three weeks before school begins that allows time for your child to get enough sleep, eat a healthy, enjoyable breakfast, and be ready for the bus.

TALK ABOUT WHY

Provide your personal perspectives on the value of school and how preparation efforts can pay off.

“Every young person is different – some may be motivated to prepare, while others may be uninterested but still need guidance and encouragement,” adds Dr. Desai. “Modeling a positive attitude and being an active listener are great ways to support your child during these transitions.”

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For more information on Behavioral Health Services at CentraState, visit centrastate.com/behavioralhealth or call 732-780-6023.

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