Edit ModuleShow Tags

Tips for Transitioning from Summer to School


Published:

After weeks of summer camp, vacations and no homework, it can be difficult for kids to get back into the daily grind of school. Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for Wake County Public Schools, says starting school on the right foot can enhance children's relationships with their peers and teachers, and help them develop a positive attitude toward school.

For children starting school for the first time, WCPSS Project Enlightenment (projectenlightenment.wcpss.net) offers valuable information and resources for parents.

Another helpful resource is schoolfamily.org, recommended by Kishia Carrington, student services coordinator for Durham County Public Schools. The website lists what to expect academically and socially for each grade level, from preschool through 12th grade.

Here are some general tips to help you and your child prepare for going back to school:

1. Schedule an appointment with the doctor. Visit your child's dentist, doctor or pediatrician to make sure he is in good physical and mental health and receives recommended vaccinations or immunizations. If your child plans on participating in sports, be sure to have a physical completed in time. (Some are school system-specific.)

2. Establish healthy habits. Changing routines is hard, but establishing regular bedtimes and mealtimes will ease your child back into school mode. A few weeks before school starts, encourage your child to go to sleep and wake up earlier than usual so the adjustment won't be too shocking.

3. Make organization a priority. Keep your school to-do lists tidy by using online organizational resources such as Clipix.com or Workflowy.com. It is also helpful to set aside a folder at home exclusively for filing paper copies of your child's important school information. This way, everything is all in one place.

4. Buy supplies early. Be sure to steadily purchase all necessary school supplies ahead of time. This will save you the headache of trying to buy them all at once the week - or night - before school begins.

5. Save the date. Keep track of what the entire family is up to by marking important future dates on your calendar or smartphone so they don't end up surprising you later.

6. Make safety a priority. Talk with your child about common safety practices, especially school bus, traffic and pedestrian safety. Review protocol for after-school safety if your child will be home alone.

Keep calm and carry on

Darlene Johnson, lead social worker for WCPSS, says it's common for children and parents to feel anxious about going back to school. She and Jeff Nash, from the DPS office of public affairs, offer advice to help combat children's uneasiness:

7. Communicate clearly. "It's easier now than it has ever been to talk to teachers," Nash says. If you have concerns about your child starting school, contact his teacher(s) through email, phone or even Facebook. "This is what teachers do," he says. "They want to reach out to families and children: It's part of the job."

8. Familiarize yourself. Johnson recommends taking your child on a tour of the school campus. Visit places she will be, like the playground, cafeteria or media center. If possible, arrange to meet teachers or principals on the visit. This way, your child will feel more confident on her first day back and there will be fewer surprises.

9. Read the student handbook. Go through the student handbook with your child. It can answer questions you might have and provide information about the dress code, emergency procedures and other relevant information. Nash says these handbooks don't usually change from year to year, so consult the previous year's handbook if you want information before the school year starts.

10. Establish expectations. Contact your child's teachers to understand what they expect academically from their students. Then, discuss with your child what he wants to learn and accomplish at school. Write down these goals and revisit them periodically to help him stay focused throughout the year.

11. Set an example. If your child is still feeling nervous about starting school, talk to her about fond school memories from when you were her age. "Smile when you tell the story, and encourage your children to create their own stories," Nash says. Let your child know you were once in her shoes, too.

And if the first week back isn't a success, don't panic. Johnson says in addition to contacting the appropriate teachers or a guidance counselor to create strategies to help address concerns you or your child may have, establishing an open line of communication with your child is extremely important and helpful.

"Find out what is triggering whatever feelings they have, and problem-solve with them," Johnson says.

Editorial intern Jessica Gaylord is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, double majoring in journalism and communications.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

When Children Hear Horror Stories on the News

How do you nurture a children's confidence in a safe world even when they are exposed to disturbing news.

10 Hikes Kids Enjoy in the Triangle

Ready to spend some time outdoors with your family? You're bound to have fun at any of these kid-friendly hiking spots around the Triangle.

Turn Off the Tube

Young adults who watch a lot of TV and have low physical activity may have worse cognitive function when they reach middle age.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2016

Enjoy a fun-filled day, all while helping collect food and money to support local rescues. Last year’s Pet Extravaganza raised over 10,000 lbs of dog and cat food, and more than 20 dogs and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Joyner Park in Wake Forest
701 Harris Rd
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: Dirty Dogs Spa
Telephone: 919-453-0765
Contact Name: Vanessa Davis
Website »

More information

Celebrate southern creativity and create art inspired by Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art. Watch a local artist at work in the Great Hall and hear music performances...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate southern creativity and create art inspired by Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art. Watch a local artist at work in the Great Hall. Don’t miss incredible...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Telephone: 919-475-3425
Contact Name: Wendy Hower
Website »

More information

Prospective parents explore TISC schools, speak with TISC school representatives and gain information about which independent school might be the right fit for their family.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hampton Inn
3920 Arrow Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Rodeos, a mule-pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, carnival rides, street performers, bluegrass shows and more are all part of Benson Mule Days.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Benson
500 S. Market St.
Benson, NC  27504
View map »


Website »

More information

Engineer a super slick slide with special engineering guests from The Engineering Place, NCSU College of Engineering's K-20 Outreach Program.

Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 1 and younger, and museum members

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Celebrate Raleigh's newest creative play space with face painting and balloon art, food and art projects for purchase, community vendors and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
SnickerDoodles
3721 Lynn Rd., #112
Raleigh, NC  27613
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a nature objects show-and-tell with turtle shells, antlers, feathers and fossils for little ones to touch and hold, followed by a gentle 1.5-mile  hike along the creek through the shaded...

Cost: Free

Where:
Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
6001 Turkey Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Triangle Land Conservancy and Hike it Baby
Telephone: 919-908-0054
Contact Name: Barbara Goldentyer
Website »

More information

Enjoy overnight camping event in West Point on the Eno Park, whether you're a first-timer or an old hand, for traditional camping activities such as storytelling, s’mores, night hikes,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
West Point on the Eno Park
5101 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC  27704
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 919-560-4405
Contact Name: Kim Oberle
Website »

More information

Learn about beavers and hike to the Beaver Creek bridge to look for evidence of them in celebration of Take a Child Outside Week. All ages. Meet at the New Hill Parking Area. Ages 6 and older....

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

Enjoy a story around the campfire and roast marshmallows. Ages 6 and older. Registration required online by Sept. 21.  Adults must register and accompany children. Choose course #194776.

Cost: $2/person

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-2871
Website »

More information

Take the family for live music, crafts and food. See website for hours.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Town Hall
301 W. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the motorcycle lifestyle with family-friendly activities ranging from stunt shows and specialty rides to live music and local vendors. See website for hours.

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Parent and child discover the amazing world of mushrooms and learn about these organisms that are neither plant nor animal. Learn how to identify some of the more common types of fungi and discover...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Parents and caregivers of babies and children experience the fun of music with Cotton the Clown. Cotton strums her red fender guitar, performing her vast repertoire of children's favorites...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cafe Euro
2101 S. Main St.
Wake Forest , NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: Euro Cafe
Telephone: 919-971-1349
Contact Name: Alice Hoover

More information

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Registration required.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park Community Center
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Miss O has just delivered a very special mission to Ollie and Otto, and they need help to crack the case in this live, interactive spy adventure base on the popular PBS KIDS program "Odd...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about animal tracks. Observe nature on a habitat hike and use bug traps to catch and release favorite insects. All ages; adult accompaniment required for all children. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take time out to spend with your little one as you crawl, explore and bounce in a safe environment exclusively for children ages 12 mos-3 yrs. Parents play free; admission is $5 per child....

Cost: $5/child

Where:
BounceU of Apex
3419 Apex Peakway
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Parent and child learn more about the park's nocturnal animals and night vision. Take a flashlight.This program is free in celebration of Take a Child Outside Week. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Johanna leads preschoolers on a storytime adventure.

Cost: Free

Where:
Flyleaf Books
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Sponsor: Flyleaf Books
Telephone: 919-942-7373
Website »

More information

Raleigh's State Farmers Market celebrates North Carolina's apple harvest with free apple dessert samples, recipes and more. Farmers and market vendors also will have plenty of North...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn to read the tracks and signs animals leave behind. Find out what animals eat and what they've been up to. Observe animals in action on a hike around the pond. Ages 8-14. Registration...

Cost: $8/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

This workshop provides examples of common forms of disobedience and some reasons why children have difficulty learning to follow instructions. A number of positive parenting strategies are then...

Cost: $20/person, $30/couple

Where:
Project Enlightenment
501 S. Boylan Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-7774
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy an energetic, musical storytime with Amy Godfrey, who was a Durham County librarian for six years. Babka and challah will be served as...

Cost: Free

Where:
Levin JCC
1937 West Cornwallis Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy a kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified and participatory music show. Children delight in active,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump it Up Briercreek
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
"Pump it Up" Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
View map »


Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

More information

Learn about coyotes in celebration of Take a Child Outside Week. Ages 6 and older. Meet at the Cypress Shelter. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-4342
Website »

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy a display of original dirt track cars from 1948-1968, meet the cars' drivers, mechanics and owners, and shop vendors offering vehicle memorabilia.

Cost: Free

Where:
Occoneechee-Orange Speedway
320 Elizabeth Brady Rd.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Website »

More information

The family-friendly even offers two races: a timed, competitive race and a recreational run. Strollers and dogs are welcome in the recreational run, and costumes are optional (but always...

Cost: $20/person

Where:
SAFE Haven for Cats
8431-137 Garvey Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27616-3180
View map »


Website »

More information

Give SkyFit (group fitness class) a try for just $2/person. Choose from two separate 25-minute long sessions: the first session begins at 9 a.m.; the second begins at 9:30 a.m.  Price of...

Cost: $2/person

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd. Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Join volunteers to help clean the park's waterways. Teams will pick up trash along the shore of Lake Crabtree and its connecting creeks. Gloves, bags and other supplies provided. Enjoy raffle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Take the family for games, bounce houses, a hot dog lunch, live music, God's Puppet Squad, magic show, chili cook-off, craft vendors and bingo. Tickets are $8 in advance and will be pre-sold at...

Cost: Free to $8

Where:
New Life Church
6900 Zebulon Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: New Life Church
Telephone: 919-730-9847
Contact Name: Mary Beth Roberson
Website »

More information

Take the family to an old-time county fair, featuring live music, animals, agricultural displays, heritage craft displays, re-enactors, quilt auction, and much more! 

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Website »

More information

Help Baby+Company Cary celebrate its second birthday party. Enjoy cake, a bounce house, food, face painting, vendors, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Baby+Company Cary
226 Asheville Ave., Ste. 20
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Carolina Kinder hosts a monthly storytime in the German for ages 4-7.  The German language and culture come alive with stories, songs, games and crafts.  

Cost: Free of charge

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Ave
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: CarolinaKinder
Contact Name: Stephanie Vogel
Website »

More information

Learn about all things baby wearing. Whether you just need some advice to get the ideal fit for your carrier, to learn a new wrap knot, or to learn more about what type of carrier would work best...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grow, The Family Boutique
2885 Jones Franklin Rd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

Games, entertainment, information booths and food trucks await families in an event that celebrates National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month. All ability levels welcome.

Cost: Free

Where:
Holton Athletic Field
401 N. Driver St.
Durham, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family for live entertainment, demonstrations relating to the unique cultural and natural resources of the region, hands-on activities and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
280 State Park Rd.
Apex, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: NC State Parks
Telephone: 919-362-0586
Contact Name: Catherine Locke
Website »

More information

Join a nature instructor and look for signs of deer rubbings, deer tracks and deer scat. Decorate deer tracks to take home and play fun games. Ages 6-12 with adult. Register online by Sept. 27....

Cost: $5/participant

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-2871
Website »

More information

Musicians and artisans, local and regional farms, and fisheries and restaurants promote the richness of North Carolina's natural resources. Enjoy live music, fresh seafood and more. Purchase...

Cost: $8 advance tickets, $10 at the door. Ages 12 and younger admitted free.

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module

Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triangle by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Directories

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Exceptional Child

Children with special needs face unique challenges. Find resources from A-Z in areas of advocacy, education, camps and therapies to support them as they grow.

GPS [Go. Play. See]

GPS is your guide to explore all the Triangle has to offer, from museum expansions to new parks and schools to youth sports and family fun. Plus, discover our 2016 Readers' Favorites.

Education Guide

The 2015-16 Education Guide offers 539 education resources in the Triangle, including local preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.