How to Cope with the End of Vacation: 6 Recommendations

To face the end of summer vacation, it's important to think about children's emotions, in which joy and anguish are mixed together.
How to Cope with the End of Vacation: 6 Recommendations
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 28 September, 2022

Thinking about the end of vacation may cause a lump in your throat. We go from having the whole day ahead of us to do activities that interest us to having to think about science homework, multiplication tables, or how to spell certain words correctly.

Seen this way, it would be almost impossible to think that school has its appeal. But it does! However, starting the new school year with enthusiasm also has a lot to do with how we face the end of the vacation and how we make the transition. So, let’s take a look at some tips and recommendations.

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6 tips for coping with the end of the vacation for children

Rarely is the end of the vacation experienced with only one prevailing emotion. In general, children may be happy to meet up with their classmates, especially if they haven’t been able to hang out too much during the summer. But they’ll also experience some discouragement regarding having to return to schedules, homework, and daily obligations.

The whole family is involved when it comes to resuming the school dynamic. Especially because not only do your little ones go back to school, but also, the adults in the house must be prepared to support, accompany, and help solve homework, among other issues. For this reason, it’s important to consider some tips to face the end of children’s vacations.

1. Waking up early

A father preparing breakfast for his chidlren.
Several days before going back to school, it’s good to start to resume schedules progressively. Getting up a little earlier each day is ideal so that it’s not as hard to do it on the first day of school.

This implies taking measures during the last days of vacation, such as starting to resume the usual sleep schedule, and also on the first days of classes, when you’ll need to get up earlier than usual. For example, it’ll probably be harder for children to get out of bed and be ready for the first day of school. To avoid early morning arguments, you may all need a little more time to get back into the swing of things.

2. Prepare backpacks and uniforms ahead of time

Also, to get in tune with school, it’s a good idea to involve children in the preparation of their backpacks or in the purchase of school supplies. These are usually activities that excite them, as they have the possibility of choosing things according to their own tastes. Therefore, it’s helpful to create a positive emotional climate and interest in your little ones.

3. Accept the gradualness of the first days

Don’t expect your children to be 100% connected to their obligations during the first week of classes. In fact, you’ll need to find an alternation between the new routine and some different leisure activities. For example, going out for ice cream in the middle of the week, going to the park, or doing some activity that’s of interest to the child are all good options. This way, we avoid such an abrupt feeling the change. Another alternative may be to prepare their favorite food or treat for them to take to school.

4. Be flexible and try to remain calm

As we mentioned, the first few days can be a challenge. However, getting angry and pressuring them can only lead to bad moods. As adults, we must also be aware of the emotions involved in this new cycle in order to find a way to manage them. Therefore, it’s best to show some flexibility and try to remain calm.

5. Encourage them with new objectives and purposes

Motivation is important, as it acts as a compass and tells us where to go. As part of a fresh start after the end of the children’s vacations, we can do a family closing exercise in which we ask ourselves what we took away from the previous year and what we want to achieve in this new cycle. This way, we’ll also know what they were enthusiastic about and what they didn’t like before, in order to have more tools to accompany them in this stage. In addition, it’s good to talk about the benefits of attending school, the learning that lies ahead, and other topics related to the issue.

A mother walking her preschooler to school.
Talking to children about the experience of going back to school allows us to participate with them and to know what their feelings are at the beginning of this new cycle.

6. Be part of the back to school

In this sense, it’s ideal to talk about their experience of returning to class, how they felt, or if there are any new classmates, among other topics. That is, before the end of the day, it’s important to share some time going over the day. This also allows us to measure the pulse of what’s happening and know how this change is evolving. For example, at early ages or as a consequence of post-pandemia, some experiences of separation anxiety may appear. That’s why talking to children allows us to give them the support they need.

Learn to adapt and enjoy everything

Going back to school is much more than adjusting to daily schedules and a specific agenda. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with classmates, learn new things, and acquire new and better tools. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget these aspects that are essential and give meaning to school.

That’s why it’s always good, both for children and adults, to take a few moments to remember and connect with that “what for”. In this way, we can look at our daily life with different eyes and also rethink those things we would like to change or improve. We should be able to find enjoyment and pleasure in each of our activities, even if they are routine or have certain rules.

Finally, the idea is to learn to adapt and be flexible. This way, we can appreciate every moment of life, with all its pros and cons.

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