The beginning of school is a time to reset or establish routines that make sense. We can all agree that the last couple of CoVid years have required some fast thinking, right? Managing the routine consistently promotes security and taking responsibility. Check out my article Hi Ho! It’s off to School We Go where I talk about the Pillars of Security (people, places, routines and rituals).

Prepping the night before

  • Son is putting stuff in his backpack, mother is helping him by holding it

    Let the child choose and lay out the clothes for the next day. Super easy with uniforms. Clothing is one choice that a sleepy brain doesn’t have to make.

  • Get backpacks ready including name badges, permission slips, papers, Chromebooks, completed projects, etc. This keeps the frantic searches to a minimum.
  • Set out easy to fix breakfast items. This allows the child to eat at a routine time (before or after getting dressed). If sitting down for a family breakf is a priority, then set the expectation and timeframe.
  • Wind down and get a good night’s sleep. Children need more sleep than we may think they do. Set up a checklist or picture schedule for getting ready for bed. The order may not matter so much but the elements do. Going to the bathroom before bed is a must but it doesn’t matter if this happens before or after brushing teeth.
  • Screen time before bed can sabotage good sleep. Put the “screen machines” to bed at least 1 hour before bedtime. Here are 4 easy ways to get off screens.

In the morning

  • A mother and son on their way out of the front door for his first day at school

    One big challenge may be the tears that happen in the morning at drop-off time. Parents, I’m talking about you, too. It is important that you model calm assurance and confidence that your child can handle what comes up in the school day. Checklists come in handy for getting out the door on time.

  • A fun ritual goodbye may be comforting as your child leaves for class. For example, hug, hug, kiss on the cheek; “make good choices”’ or “See ya later alligator. After while crocodile.” You get the idea. Establish an after school joining ritual, too. For example, fist bump, hug hello, or 15 minutes of down time to decompress.

Need Support?

Dr. Pam Rinn PhD Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Dr. Pam Rinn, PhD provides marriage and family therapy for families and children who are struggling. She has:

  • experience as a trainer for child care agencies,
  • education in play therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trust Based Relational Intervention, Parenting Facilitator, and Reunification Therapist.
  • certification as An Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist


These all work together to help her know just how to support your family. Acorn provides evidence based, Christian systemic trauma informed counseling throughout the lifespan. Schedule with us today!



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