Most of us feel nervous or excited when we are starting something new. In fact, most students feel this way when they head back to school in September. Shifting from the freedom of summer to the school routine is often difficult. But this year may be especially hard because we have been away from school for such a long time.

Planning may help you get your ‘head in the game,’ so that you can head back to school in a positive way. Here are some questions and suggestions for students and families to consider:

What do you like about school?

  • What are you most looking forward to?
  • What have you missed?
  • What are your favourite subjects/ activities?
  • Who are you looking forward to seeing?

What will your typical morning be like?

  • What time will you need to leave?
  • What time will you need to get out of bed?
  • Knowing how much sleep you need, what time will you need to go to bed?
  • If you need to shift your bedtime and wake up time before school starts, when should you start making this shift?
  • Would it be helpful to practice your morning and evening routine?

How will you get to school and back home

  • Will you walk or ride your bike?
  • Will you go by yourself or do you want a family member to come with you, maybe even just for the first while?
  • How long will it take you to get to school and what time will you have to leave the house? Should you practice the route to check the time?
  • Do you take the bus? If so, do you know where your stop is and what time you need to be there?

Do you want to plan what you wear?

  • Do you want to pick out certain clothes for the first day or first week?
  • When should you check to make sure the clothes you want are ready?

What school supplies will you need?

  • What do you already have at home?
  • What will you need to get?
  • What items need to be organized in the morning or the night before?
  • Can you design a system that would help?
  • Are there any other things you may want to take, just to have in your backpack? (Sometimes, students like to have reminders of home in their backpack just to know that they are there.)

What will you take for lunch?

  • Are there recipes you want to try now?
  • Do you have lunch containers that you can open on your own?
  • Make a grocery list for a typical school week.

Do you know the public health guidelines you will need to follow?

  • Have you practiced wearing a mask?
  • Do you have a song to sing while you wash your hands for 20 seconds (or another strategy)?
  • How will you keep track of your distance from others?

What could be hard about going back to school?

  • Is there anything that you’re worried about?
  • How are you going to handle that?
  • Who can help you with the problem?
  • Have you thought about how you will respond to returning to adult direction and new limits at school?
  • Have you had access to a lot of screen time while at home? Try to gradually cut back as you get closer to school starting.

What questions do you have?

What do you want to share with your new teacher and classmates when you get back to school?

  • Did anything ‘big’ happen while you were home?
  • What was your favourite part of being home?
  • What did you miss the most about school?

Although this year is different than other years, there are many parts of going back-to-school that are the same. With some planning, this transition can go more smoothly.