Inside Out 286: Back to School

08.28.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Summer doesn’t officially end until mid-September. But for the students and teachers returning to school in the next few days, it will feel as though it has.

And why not? It’s hard to leave the somewhat relaxed schedules and beach vacations of summer to begin focusing on shapes and colors, or algebra equations and plate tectonics.

It’s just a fact that starting a new school year can be a difficult transition. While some have trouble leaving vacation behind, other s grow nervous about what’s ahead. Starting classes in a new building can feel overwhelming. Even returning to a familiar building—but in a new grade--presents a number of challenges. 

“I think the most important thing is just to listen to our kids, to hear them out, and not try to rush immediately with solutions,” says today’s Inside Out guest Caryn Rivadeneira. Caryn’s an author and a speaker, as well as a member of her church worship staff. She’s also a mother. She and her husband have three children: one beginning middle school, another entering 4th grade, and the youngest starting first grade.

You can hear our 11- minute conversation about the back-to-school transition by clicking on an icon above (either Listen or Download). We talk about working through a child’s anxieties with patience and humor, celebrating what each child uniquely appreciates about school (even if that’s recess), and reviewing safety tips as a family before the school year begins.

We also talk about how books can illustrate for children that they are not the first to feel anxious or uncomfortable about a return to academics, and Caryn shares a new strategy she’s heard about that could help families incorporate consistent a biblical influence into the most harried of morning routines.

“I think one the best things we can do--at the end of summer—is look back and kind of remember all that was great about the summer. And help them understand that part of what makes summer great is just that it is that break from the routine, and really appreciate that.”

Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira is the author of “Grumble Hallelujah: Learning to Love Life Even When It Lets You Down,” “Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.: How to Discover the Real You Under All That Mom,” and “Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms.”

Learn more about Caryn and her books at her website:


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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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