Seasons Magazines

Seasons Magazines

Goodbye Summer, Hello School


The life of a parent in August is about as chaotic as the week before Christmas. With last-minute reading lists, back-to-school shopping and the anticipation of a new school year routine, the air in the house buzzes with a combination of anxiety and excitement. How do you balance the desire to soak up any last bits of summer while preparing for a new school year?

Is August really the Sunday of Summer? With Sunday Scaries a real thing, it is no wonder the last month of summer awakens the same feelings of anticipatory stress as the last day of the weekend.

There is something dreadful about the end of a summer—a season in which one has embraced long sunny days of fun and freedom since they were a little kid. In New England, June and July are marked by cannonball contests, melting popsicles and beach bonfires. There are sleepaway camps, amusement park adventures and nights at the drive-in movie theater. August always arrives with hotter days, last hurrahs and an unforeseen shift in a family’s energy level with the new school year on the horizon.


10 Tips to Ease into the ‘Back to School’ Grind 

Knowing summer break is coming to an end can awaken a myriad of emotions in parents and children alike. One of the best ways to calm anticipatory stress about a new school year is to distract yourself from the actual feelings. Get busy preparing your family to smoothly transition from summer to school. Here are some ways to prepare your family for the new school year.

  1. Reset sleep schedules with school appropriate sleep/wake times. If your child is transitioning to a new school with an earlier start time, they may need a few days to adjust.
  2. Write down household expectations for before/after school routines. (Why do kids always need to be reminded to brush their teeth?)
  3. Schedule a visit from the “Back to School Fairy.” The BTS is one of the easiest traditions to begin with younger, school-aged children. There isn’t much involved if the BTS brings must-needed school supplies. The BTS Fairy can arrive before school begins or even on the first day.
  1. Make a list of exciting lunch box meal ideas. Not only will this help keep the family organized when you’re making a weekly grocery list, but it also eliminates indecisive lunch packing events.
  2. Help younger children pick out what they will wear for the first week of school. Encourage older children to put together outfits for school. Not only does it take away the stress of choosing what to wear for children, but it can also prevent disapproving parental stares.
  3. Curb all-day eating habits and get back to a normal routine. Kids are always in for a rude awakening when they return to a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner schedule versus access to their own personal 24-hour, all-you-can-eat buffet during the summer.
  4. Avoid mindless television watching (or other lazy summer habits) in the mornings leading up to the first day of school.
  5. SHOES! Make sure your children have sneakers that fit for P.E. For some reason, sneakers are never put on the school supply list.
  6. Establish a family command center with a monthly calendar, magnetic board to post school flyers, stick extracurricular schedules and other things. The area serves as a place for the family to access important information for the school year.
  7. Host a Farewell to Summer event.


Plan a Proper Farewell to Summer

Every summer, whether it is joyful or miserable, deserves a proper farewell. “Winter is coming after all,” said Ashley DeRose, a Wallingford mom of three elementary age children. Summer’s end can bring about a lot of emotions in children: excitement, fear, sadness, remorse, anger, anxiety. It’s important to acknowledge all of those feelings—good and bad—and tackle the trickiest ones. The back-to-school blues are real.

Whether it’s a pool party or BBQ with friends, there are so many ways to celebrate summer’s end. Organize a neighborhood water balloon fight, schedule a backyard campout or make s’mores with your favorite chocolate bar. Make a point to have one final send-off prior to Labor Day weekend since most schools begin beforehand. You can always squeeze in a “goodbye summer” the day before the first day of school too.

Another way to commemorate a summer well spent is to create a memory scrapbook with your children. Pick up a blank notebook while back-to-school supply shopping. Then spend a few hours adding handwritten notes, printed photos or sketches of your most happy summer memories together. Have a tech savvy kid? Challenge him or her to design a digital presentation of their summer break. Gather the family to relive the wonderful moments.

Once parents and children feel closure on the summer chapter, they can focus their attention on the new school year. Try to treat the first few days as a dress rehearsal; it isn’t easy to adapt to a new routine overnight. The more stress a family feels to effortlessly jump into something new, the messier the outcome. So please tip toe rather than run towards the first day of school.


Caitlin Houston, a mother of three, is the blogger behind the self-titled Caitlin Houston Blog, an authentic life and style site established in 2008. Caitlin covers sometimes hard to talk about topics in the motherhood and mental health categories as well as New England living, style and family travel.