Return to school transition tips

Your son is likely to be feeling a range of emotions about the idea of returning to on-site learning.

From a social aspect, he may be feeling excited about reconnecting face-to-face with his peers, but he may have some reservations about how some friendships may have changed.

Academically, your son may also be feeling overwhelmed about returning to a more formalised learning style after months spent learning in a more relaxed environment.

Here are a few suggestions on how can you help him.

Have open conversations about his expectations of returning to school and how his expectations may align/differ from the measures that will be put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone at school.

Routines can help provide your family with some level of normality and predictability throughout the day. Be kind to yourself as not only your son, but your whole family, starts a new routine. It takes time to establish a new routine, but revisiting what worked previously in your household may be a good starting point.

Returning to school means he needs to wake up earlier and increase his level of organisation. Earlier mornings means encouraging earlier bed times to ensure your son is feeling refreshed and ready to learn.

You are likely to be met with some resistance when introducing an earlier bed time and your son may even tell you he’s not tired. To help him to adjust to a new bedtime, introducing smaller 15 minute earlier increments across several nights can work better than a sudden significant shift in bedtime. Packing bags, charging laptops and hanging uniforms the night before may assist with reducing the morning rush and the likelihood of forgetting things.

Your son’s eating habits may have also changed during the lockdown period. He may have had less structured meal times and snacked more frequently throughout the day. Encourage your son to have a substantial breakfast before heading to school. A breakfast that contains complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and high in protein will keep you son satiated and energised until he can eat again during break times.  

Remind your son of the support that is available to him when he returns on-site. He is not alone with how he is feeling.

Whilst it’s important to make changes and prepare your son for recommencing on-site learning, it’s also valuable to reflect and to continue to engage in some of the positives that came from the lockdown period, such as regular time together as a family and daily exercise.


Danielle Wolff
Secondary School Psychologist (Years 7-8)