12 Ways to Help Your Child Make a Smooth Transition Back to School

Returning to the classroom might feel a little different this year. Calm your kids' back-to-school jitters with these clever tips and products.

A New Beginning

1/13
A New Beginning

The 2020-2021 school year was challenging, to say the least, with most students having to cope with remote learning or a hybrid schedule of in-person and online classes. Now, after more than a year of a laid-back, unstructured learning environment, your school-age child may have a difficult time switching back to full-time in-person school. Read on for some products—and good advice—for helping your child smoothly transition into the new school year.

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A Kid-Friendly Alarm Clock

2/13
A Kid-Friendly Alarm Clock

While learning remotely, many students got accustomed to sleeping later because there was no need to catch an early morning bus. It might be difficult for your child (and you!) to get back into the habit of waking up earlier, but a fun, kid-friendly alarm clock might help. There are lots of options on the market (like this one, available on Amazon) that appeal to children and include features like night lights, soothing sounds, and colorful icons that help very young children understand when it’s still nighttime, or when day has started. 

Related: The Best Clock Radios for Your Home

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Fun Face Masks

3/13
Fun Face Masks

Even if your child’s school isn’t requiring that students wear face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19, you may still want your kids to have protection. While cloth masks are more economical and eco-friendly, thin procedural masks are more breathable and comfortable for long-term wear. This 50-pack (available on Amazon) comes in fun colors and patterns, including floral, tie-dye, and unicorn patterns.

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A Meditation App

4/13
A Meditation App

Some children may experience anxiety as the school year approaches. There are a number of different strategies to help children manage their mental health in the run-up to the new school year, and one of the easiest is downloading a kid-friendly meditation app like Headspace for Kids, which offers breathing exercises and other guided meditations.

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A Magnetic Calendar

5/13
A Magnetic Calendar

Daily schedules probably loosened up for many students who were learning from home over the past year or so, and they may find it jarring to switch back to a more regimented routine. Start your child’s day off on the right foot by displaying a calendar that’s just for them so they can know what to expect from each day of the week. The Melissa & Doug My First Daily Magnetic Calendar (available on Amazon) is a great option that’s geared toward children ages 3 to 7.

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A Morning To-Do List

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A Morning To-Do List

Mornings are always hectic, whether you’re studying at home or in person, and children of all ages may need help sticking to a morning routine for getting themselves ready for school. The D-FantiX Magnetic Responsibility Chart (available on Amazon) will help your child follow a structured morning routine, with illustrated magnets for specific tasks and desirable behaviors, such as “brush teeth” and “make bed,” and blank spaces for custom tasks.

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A Tour of the School

7/13
A Tour of the School

Children attending a new school for the first time may take comfort in seeing their classroom in advance to settle their nerves and soften those first-day-of-school jitters. See if it’s possible to arrange a tour of the school before classes officially kick off for the year. If that’s not an option, simply driving to the school to check out the building and playground can be a good transitional step.

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A Fun Backpack

8/13
A Fun Backpack

Backpacks may not have been necessary for at-home learning, but your child will definitely need something to carry school supplies this fall. A backpack is a practical accessory, and it gives your child an opportunity to show off their style and personality—a chance for self-expression that kids especially appreciate at schools that require uniforms. This model (available on Amazon) comes in a wide variety of fun prints and has adjustable straps, making it suitable for children ages 5 and up.

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Appealing Hand Sanitizer

9/13
Appealing Hand Sanitizer

Hand hygiene is more important than ever this year, but it can be tough for some younger children to remember to use hand sanitizer frequently. Crayola’s Hand Sanitizer for Kids (available on Amazon) comes in squeeze bottles designed to look like crayons and the gel itself is brightly colored, making it even more fun to use.

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Organize a Playdate

10/13
Organize a Playdate

After a year or more of online learning, your child may be experiencing anxiety about socializing in person with classmates, especially if they’re attending a new school. In the lead-up to the new school year, get in touch with other parents in your child’s classroom to see if their children would be interested in a playdate before classes start. This is a great stepping stone to more comfortable peer relationships when school begins.

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A Bento-Style Lunch Box

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A Bento-Style Lunch Box

Feeding your kids lunch at home didn’t require the planning and forethought needed for prepping lunches to send to school. Bento-style lunch boxes, such as this one from Bentgo (available on Amazon), are divided into compartments that keep each food item separate without the need for wasteful plastic baggies or other unnecessary packaging.

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A Bundle of School Supplies

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A Bundle of School Supplies

Many classrooms that previously offered communal school supplies—pencils, crayons, erasers, and sharpeners—are requiring that students bring their own supplies to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Send your child in with a well-rounded back-to-school kit like this one (available on Amazon). This one-and-done supply pack will likely alleviate some parental stress too!

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A Reusable Water Bottle

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A Reusable Water Bottle

Hydration is important for kids and adults alike. This year, however, many schools are restricting access to water fountains as a preventive sanitary measure, so it’s prudent to ensure that children have their own water bottle. There are lots of great options on the market geared toward kids, including this 12-ounce bottle from Thermos (available on Amazon), which comes in a range of colors and patterns. 

Related: The Best Glass Water Bottle for Safe Drinking

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