The month of August marks the end of summer break for many youth and their families. While some are still soaking up the last few days of summer, others are anticipating the new school year by loading up on school supplies. While returning to school can be exciting for many, the transition can sometimes be a difficult one.

Follow these helpful tips and resources to make the transition back to school a smooth one and to ensure a successful and safe school year for your family.

Safety first

Believe it or not, a child’s backpack can cause a lot of problems. According to the National Safety Council, if backpacks are too heavy it can cause back and shoulder pain as well as poor posture. The American Chiropractic Association recommends a backpack weigh no more than 10 percent of a child’s weight. Here are some tips on selecting a backpack to help lighten the load.

  • The correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
  • Padded back and shoulder straps
  • Hip and chest belts to help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso
  • Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight
  • Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
  • Reflective material

Once you’ve got the perfect backpack for your child, be sure to go over school bus safety with them. Here are some easy safety rules to teach your child:

Getting on and off the bus:

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and do not stray onto the street, alleys or private property
  • Line up away from the street or road as the bus approaches
  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus
  • If you have to cross in front of the bus, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver
  • When the driver signals, look left, right, then left again. Walk across the road and keep an eye out for sudden traffic changes
  • Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver signals it is safe

Behavior on the bus:

  • If seat belts are available on the bus, buckle up
  • Stay in your seat
  • Don’t put your head, arms or hands out the window
  • Keep aisles clear of books and bags

Read up on more backpack and school bus safety tips on the National Safety Council website.

Study Break

It is important to get off on the right foot for the new academic year. After a long summer break, students often get out of practice with studying and completing homework. Whether you’re a youth or parent, the following resources for study tips and advice can help you or your child make this school year a successful one.

For parents:

Your Role in School Success

Back to School Tips

Help for Parents of Troubled Teens

When Kids Refuse to go to School

Tips to Help your Teen Transform Failing Grades into Academic Success

For teens:

Back to School Tips and Advice for Teens

Middle School Study Tips for Students

High School Study Tips for Students

Follow these resources to help your family make the transition from summer break to the new academic year a smooth and successful one.

If you are a youth or a parent of a youth who is troubled, at-risk or a runaway, the Florida Network is here to help. Our member agencies and shelters work everyday to provide the help and resources you need to make this school year a great one. For more information on our services, visit