Six tips for a better back to school

Find out how the brain works in this situation and some recommendations that can be followed to make the dreaded "return to routine" more bearable.

Six tips for a better back to school
Here are six suggestions for a more successful start to the school year. Photo by CDC / Unsplash

The return to a routine that we thought we had forgotten but is now a reality, is that children are going back to the classroom. It is very easy to turn the page from the hustle and bustle of school time to vacation, but not vice versa, and this process can become a bit complicated for parents, students, and teachers.

In this article you will find out how the brain works in this situation and some recommendations that can be followed to make the dreaded "return to routine" more bearable.

Little by little

It is normal not to want the vacations to end; however, we must keep in mind that the effort we all put into an individual's education will one day pay off, however, waiting for the long-term reward can be tiring for all parties. From the brain's perspective, the reality is that our limbic system is not fascinated by such long waits, so something that could work is to learn to enjoy short-term achievements.


Clearly it would be more bearable and even motivating for students to enjoy the small big achievements, such as the completion of a bimester or a partial evaluation, and although the achievement is not as enjoyable as the culmination of a course, enjoying these experiences gives us a little dopamine that helps our brain to stay interested, happy and motivated. Also, in something simple to accomplish, going for ice cream at the end of exam week can make all the difference.

Act fast

Another thing that influences the adaptation process is how fast we make the change, if we stay up until the last Sunday night before classes, resuming the routine will make us tired, so the idea is to do it gradually. Maybe it is boring to go to bed early a week before classes start, so instead of reducing the time to go to bed by hours, we can do it in 15-minute intervals, for example, if I go to bed at 12 and then I will have to go to bed at 10, I start at 11:45, then 11:30 and so on.

Keeping calm

In the same way, you have to keep in mind that the brain likes certainty, as it makes it feel confident, so a recommendation for teachers is to start with simple things that they think all or most students will master. Starting with simple activities and content and then gradually increasing the difficulty will help students become more engaged in the work. Including familiar elements also works.

Go with your friends

Having close friends and living with them helps to increase our secretion of oxytocin in the brain, in other words, having friends around reduces the experience of stress, so it is recommended to strengthen coexistence and social relationships at school, this can even make us more productive without losing sight of the role of discipline.

Eating well

Finally, there are foods that help the brain to perform better at school and it would be appropriate to have them present in the lunchbox in the right measure. Some of them are red fruits, olive oil, cashews, almonds, grapes, some carbohydrate in the form of bread or omelet and animal protein in the form of eggs, milk, fish and even some meat such as ham or beef.

The idea is to take advantage of these recommendations to have a more bearable and productive back to school for everyone, a little help does not hurt.

By Atziri Arroyo Ruiz, Professor of the Faculty of Psychology of the UAG