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The Ups, Downs, and In-Between of Back to School

by Kaylin Luu - Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Lake Nona

The annual transition back to school results in an array of emotions for both children and parents.

The mindset of you and your child towards the transition can be the most catalyzing factor of success. Is the transition a fresh start or a fearsome feat?

With all transitions, the mental approach of both the parent and child matters! In fact, when providing individual counseling and parent coaching, transitions create the best opportunities to assist patients in goal setting, future-thinking, and ultimately succeeding!

So, how do we help our children succeed and thrive through a transition?

Let me suggest a general pattern of conversation that will empower your children to use the transitions they experience in their lives to their benefit and increase their sense of accomplishment.

Question, Validate, Reflect, Question, Validate…Offer Support!

For example, car rides are a great opportunity to communicate with your child so they won’t feel interrogated. If your child is younger, this style of conversation is ideal while engaging in an activity such as coloring or building legos together. Whatever age your child is, this approach is appropriate for ages 5 and up.


“Our summer has flown by, and I’m curious about what you’re thinking about this school year?” “What do you think 9th grade will be like?”


“I can understand your thoughts on ….” “When I started 9th grade I had so many different thoughts and feelings!”


“What do you want this year to be like for you? Is there any way you want it different from last year?”


“I hear what you’re saying.” “I remember when you ….(insert experience)…and how proud I was of how you handled ….(insert strength-based behavior you observed).” “I’ve seen you face (a personal challenge) I believe you will be able to succeed at this challenge!

Offer Support and Validate:

“What ideas do you have on how I can support you?” “I truly believe you have what it takes to succeed at….”

Transition creates opportunity for our children to imagine, create, pursue, and experience success in the goals they child set for themselves.

Do they want new friends? Do they want to get better grades? Do they want to take more challenging or fun classes? DO NOT suggest YOUR goals to your child!

When your child verbalizes their ideas the likelihood of their achievement increases. Their goals become internalized and they experience an emotional connection to their goal. This deeper connection enhances your child’s sense of accomplishment when they do achieve their goals. As your children continue to grow, develop, and succeed, the process of approaching transitions with a mindset of opportunity will become an independent process while you remain their best cheerleader!

About Our Village Contributor

Kaylin Fisher Luu

Kaylin Fisher Luu

Mom Pros Orlando

Kaylin Fisher Luu is a Florida native and graduate of the University of Central Florida. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and Certified Addictions Professional who specializes in working with children and teens experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, and chronic pain. She has served children, teens, and their parents for over 20 years and is passionate about impacting our community to improve the mental health outcomes of our youth. Mom Pros is a monthly collaborative event provided by Kaylin that offers psychoeducation and the opportunity for Moms to connect at a deeper level to impact the mental health of their children and our community.

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