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Preparing Kids to Transition Back to School After Winter Break

The holiday season has just wrapped up and for children and parents, that also means the end of a long winter break period. Children are returning to school and for some, this can be an exciting time to see friends again and continue learning.

For others however, the return to school can be difficult and seem like the first day of school all over again. “The end of winter break after being home with loved ones can cause nervousness and anxiety in some children,” Jerome Nelson, Alexander Youth Network’s Charlotte Day Treatment Program Manager, explains.

“We tend to see that after winter break, children’s schedules suddenly go from relaxed, back to structured, which can be a difficult transition. Returning to school for some children also means the return of academic pressures and negative interactions with staff and other children who they may not get along with,” Nelson noted.

With these factors in mind, it is important to prepare your child for the transition and help them get back into a routine that allows them to succeed socially and academically.

“Over extended breaks, most parents allow their kids time to break from their regular daily schedule and let the kids enjoy their time away from school. This change often leads to kids struggling to get back on schedule once school starts back,” Nelson said. “A smooth transition after winter break is so important because it allows for kids to quickly re-integrate back into school and begin getting back on a healthy school day schedule.”

Here are seven tips we found to make your child’s transition back to school after winter break a little easier:

  1. Return to Bedtime Routines (a few days before school starts, begin easing back into normal bedtime hours to create a smoother transition)
  2. Create a Back-to-School Countdown
  3. Discuss the Year Ahead (discuss when the days off of school are, family vacations, etc.)
  4. Celebrate the First Week Back (an ice cream treat, fun outing to celebrate, etc.)
  5. Stock Up On School Supplies
  6. Create an Efficient Morning Routine (breakfast, pack lunches and backpacks, lay out clothes, etc.)
  7. Validate Your Child’s Feelings About Returning to School

After you try these tips and you notice that your child is still struggling, behaviorally or emotionally, with the transition back to school, it may be time to seek additional support and our Day Treatment Program may be an option that can help.

In Day Treatment, our highly structured classroom environment is coupled with multi-sensory techniques and smaller class sizes, ensuring that children have the best success in overcoming their academic and behavioral challenges.

“The primary goal of Day Treatment is improving a student’s ability to interact in a positive manner with others,” Nelson noted. “We concentrate on improving social skills as most of the students we serve are lacking in this area. Providing coaching on understanding a student’s triggers and what coping skills work are key to a student’s ability to interact with others.“

To refer a child to one of our Day Treatment programs please, download the referral form and contact the Access Department via phone, (855) 362-8470, or email


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Written By Kevin Whitlock

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