The Transition Back into the School Year - It Can Be Easy!

Everyone wants a smoother transition back into the school year. Here are a few tips from seasoned St. Mary's Ryken counselor and mom of two teenagers, Mrs. Christine Jaffurs!

The Early to Bed/Early to Rise Transition

Has your teen been on the summer schedule of staying up until the wee hours of the night and sleeping until noon? Well, now is the time to start easing back into a better sleep schedule.   First, have them start to back up their bedtime a little each night over the next few weeks.  As a parent, this may be hard to monitor.   But, get on the right track by having a conversation with your teenager, helping them to schedule this out and expressing how you will trust them to be responsible for making this happen.  What will not work is starting the transition a few days before the first day of school. 

Summer Work?  What Summer Work??

More than likely your student has summer homework, and now is the time to get it done if they have not done so already.    Sometimes teachers give the option of visiting a museum or other outing as opposed to writing a paper or reading a book.  Encourage your student to get started and be proactive about their assignments. 

Social Media – It's Not Going Away Anytime Soon

If you can't beat them, join them! You may despise social media, but if you want to be able to relate to your kids, get yourself accounts with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Already a Facebook user? Great! Just keep in mind that Facebook is very much for the over-30 crowd; you won't see your kids there.

Social media can be positive, as long as you monitor your child's use of it. Remind them to be responsible for their digital footprint and to be respectful of others.

Put the Brakes On for Your Child

Teenagers need their sleep, and having a phone at their bedside can be a big distraction. Try leading by example by putting all of the family's tech devices "to sleep" together in one location at night.

Many articles are available to support this claim (for instance from the When teens keep a phone next to them and anticipate an incoming text message, they are kept from getting the deep rest they need for their brains and bodies to develop.

Homework Is Coming ... 

Now is the time to discuss where and when homework will be done once school starts again. If feasible, have your teen do their homework in a common area such as the kitchen instead of in their room. They may need your help with their work, and being in a common area lends itself to this assistance. If they work in their room, they may be tempted into distractions and be less likely to ask for help.

Once school starts, encourage your student to make use of time at school, such as study hall and commutes to and from sporting events, to get work done. If they arrive early to school, they can find a quiet place to work as well.

Breakfast – Not an Iced Coffee and a Doughnut!

It seems a rite of passage to adulthood for our teenagers to be able to stop at a coffee shop on the way to school, but it is a bad habit and can make them late. Please remind your students of the importance of eating well in the morning.

The St. Mary's Ryken Counseling Team

Throughout the school year, the St. Mary's Ryken counseling team hosts "Coffee With the Counselors" events for parents. Topics such as these will be on the agenda, including others such as how to manage technology addiction, how to prepare for a successful summer break and course registration for next year.

If you or your student has any questions or concerns throughout the school year, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your grade-level counselor. We are here to help you and your students!

From left: Mrs.Loretta Baylor, Mrs. Heather Nobary, Mrs.Christine Jaffurs and Mrs. David (Butch) Hamilton

Mrs. Loretta Baylor | Class of 2022

Mrs. Christine Jaffurs | Class of 2021

Mrs. Heather Nobary | Class of 2020

Mr. David Hamilton | Class of 2019

See you around campus. I wish everyone a very happy and healthy school year.

Mrs. Christine Jaffurs, School Counselor