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

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.

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.

Explore Ski Resorts in NC, VA and WV

Plan a family fun getaway within driving distance to ski, snowboard and tube.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2016

Take the family for food trucks and live music.

Cost: Free; cost for food items

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


Website »

More information

Embrace science and nature while developing skills about the natural world. Ages 5-8. Registration required.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Practice nature noises and search the park for sounds. Ages 2-5. Meet at the park office. Registration required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Little River Regional Park
301 Little River Park Way
Rougemont, NC  27572
View map »


Telephone: 919-732-5505
Website »

More information

Parent and child get creative by making ceramic artwork together. Ages 2-14. Registration required.

Cost: $15-$18

Where:
Durham Arts Council Clay Studio
Northgate Mall
1058 W. Club Blvd.
Durham , NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy "Olivia Saves the Circus," learn about circus animals, enjoy a take-home treat and be entertained by a special juggling act. Sessions are 8:30-9 a.m. and 10-10:30 a.m. Register for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Catholic School
5815 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Catholic School
Telephone: 919-865-5754
Contact Name: Mary Morgan
Website »

More information

See if Sir Walter Wally sees his shadow on Groundhog Day on Bicentennial Plaza at noon. Beginning at 9 a.m. visitors can take advantage of educational stations like “Snakes in Winter,”...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy "Olivia Saves the Circus," learn about circus animals, enjoy a take-home treat and be entertained by a special juggling act. Sessions are 8:30-9 a.m. and 10-10:30 a.m. Register for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Catholic School
5815 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Catholic School
Telephone: 919-865-5754
Contact Name: Mary Morgan
Website »

More information

Read "Busy Beavers" by Lydia Dabcovich and investigate beaver fur, gnawed bark and more. Ages 18 mos-3 yrs with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Enjoy songs, stories and fun in Spanish. Infants-preschoolers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Spanish for fun! Cary
100 Endeavor Way
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Sponsor: Spanish for fun!
Telephone: 919-677-7114
Contact Name: Cynthia De Amat
Website »

More information

Learn about squirrels, make a craft, read a story and go squirrel sighting. All ages. Registration required.

Cost: $5/family

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


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

View weather equipment you can make with recycled and natural materials and put the park's colonial "weather proverbs" to the test. All ages. Registration required.

Cost: $5/family

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Parent and child get creative by making ceramic artwork together. Ages 2-14. Registration required.

Cost: $15-$18

Where:
Durham Arts Council Clay Studio
Northgate Mall
1058 W. Club Blvd.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn principles of mindfulness and ways to use these strategies in parenting a child with ADHD.

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Child and Family Study Center
2608 Erwin Rd., Pavilion East
Ste. 300
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: DUKE ADHD Program & Duke Children's Primary Care
Telephone: 888-275-3853
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Explore the letters of nature and go on an alphabet hunt. Ages 3-5 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Enjoy songs, stories and fun in Spanish. Infants-preschoolers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Spanish for fun! Raleigh
8000 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Sponsor: Spanish for fun!
Telephone: 919-881-1160
Contact Name: Carol Marin
Website »

More information

Learn about squirrels, gather nuts in a fun game and make a squirrelly craft to take home. Spy on the squirrels at Crowder as they jump from tree to tree searching for the perfect nut. Ages 3-5....

Cost: $4/child

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


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

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

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Explore the adaptations of squirrels through stories, crafts and a nature hike. Ages 6-9. Registration required.

Cost: $4/child

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


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Take part in a fun evening of math, science, and STEM activities for students in kindergarten through grade 5 and their families. Artifacts and lunar samples on loan from NASA will be on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Immaculata Catholic School
721 Burch Ave
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Telephone: 919-682-5847
Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy a story, craft, songs, natural science education and a walk through the wetland. Ages 2-6. Register online.

Cost: $3

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh, Walnut Creek Wetland Center
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Enjoy storytime and a stuffed animal giveaway (one per child). Each family will be entered to into the weekly drawing among attendees for a gift bag. Event capped at 20 families to ensure a safe...

Cost: Free

Where:
Thrift 2 Gift
1402 E. Williams St.
Apex , NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy songs, stories and fun in Spanish. Infants-preschoolers.

Cost: Free

Where:
Spanish for fun! Wake Forest
222 Capcom Ave
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Sponsor: Spanish for fun!
Telephone: 919-883-2061
Contact Name: Karina Martinez
Website »

More information

Celebrate Flying Biscuit Café’s Biscuit Birthday. Enjoy birthday cake and a raffle to win $20 gift cards, apple butter, cookbooks, coffee mugs and grand prize of a Flying Biscuit...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh Flying Biscuit Café
2016 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Telephone: 919-833-6924

More information

Learn strategies to help a persistent and opinionated child. For families with children ages 3-6. Register online.

Cost: $20/person, $30/couple

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


Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy a live symphony orchestra performing music from "Star Trek," while film and TV footage from the popular franchise is shown on a large screen.

Cost: $45-$65

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Discover wildlife, their habits and their habitats through hikes, activities and crafts. Ages 5-8. Registration required.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Dads and their daughters enjoy a special evening of music, dancing, a photographer and fun. Ages 4-12. Advance ticket purchase required.

Cost: $39/couple

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-462-3970
Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join bird enthusiast Vernon for an easy walk while looking and listening for feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats. Meet at the Waterwise Garden. All ages.

Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

Learn new and artistic ways to say "I love you" in an interactive workshop series for all ages.  Led by Virginia Maier of Artistic Adventures of NC, children and their parents will...

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Renaissance Montessori School of Cary
610 Nottingham Drive
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Artistic Adventures of NC: https://www.facebook.com/Artistic-Adventures-of-North-Carolina-1518533938458590/?fref=ts
Telephone: 919-439-0130
Contact Name: Rachel Kincaid
Website »

More information

Explore the letters of nature and go on an alphabet hunt. Ages 3-5 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate Mardi Gras in downtown Wake Forest. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Wake Forest
S. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Read "Silly Wonderful You" and enjoy fun activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as Black History Month in this annual Durham parade.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fayetteville St.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the grand opening of Holding Village. Enjoy snow sledding from Snow My Yard, food trucks, tailgating games and more. Enjoy free food from Humble Pig BBQ, American Meltdown, Will &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Holding Village
705 Old Dairy Drive
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Telephone: 704-655-5608
Contact Name: Vanessa Capece
Website »

More information

Sonorous Road provides Track Out Camps for all ages geared towards acting for film and theater. Tour the facility and learn more about the program. Improv games for all ages will be played from...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sonorous Road Productions
209 Oberlin Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27605
View map »


Sponsor: Michelle Wells
Contact Name: Michelle Wells
Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Make and use weather instruments to help predict the weather. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
11408 Raven Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-6764
Website »

More information

Learn about nature as the sun sets. All ages with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $20/resident, $28/nonresident

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


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Mothers and their sons enjoy away and enjoy food, desserts, vendors and complimentary photos for all attendees. Register online at celebratefamilyevent.eventbrite.com.

Cost: $65/couple

Where:
North Raleigh Hilton at Midtown
3415 Wake Forest Rd
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Celebrate Family Events
Telephone: 888-445-7810
Contact Name: Katrina Wiggins
Website »

More information

Dads and their daughters enjoy a special evening of music, dancing, a photographer and fun. Ages 4-12. Advance ticket purchase required.

Cost: $39/couple

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-462-3970
Website »

More information

Fathers and their daughters enjoy music, food, photographers and vendors. Register online at celebratefamilyevent.eventbrite.com.

Cost: $65/couple

Where:
North Raleigh Hilton at Midtown
3415 Wake Forest Rd
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Celebrate Family Events
Telephone: 888-445-7810
Contact Name: Katrina Wiggins
Website »

More information

Ages 4-13 wear party attire to enjoy a special evening with their parent or guardian featuring refreshments, music, games, a photographer, raffles and door prizes. Register by calling 919-481-6509.

Cost: $45/couple, $10 additional sibling

Where:
Cary Ballet Conservatory
3791 N.W. Cary Pkwy.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers. See website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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]

Triangle parents are busy and on the go. Browse our GPS guide to explore 1,155 family-friendly resources located across the region.

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.