English Speaking Therapists in Barcelona

Back to School Tips Barcelona

Back to School Tips Barcelona

It’s the end of August and the kids are going back to school. For many, this is a time of change and challenges. Whether your kid is starting kindergarten, starting a new school or just transitioning back to school after holidays, it can be helpful to have some tools under your belt to make a smooth transition.

At Therapy in Barcelona our Child Therapists and Adolescent Therapists can help you to work on easing the transition and supporting you and your child to manage separation anxiety and back to school nerves. Be in contact if you think we can be of assistance.

Making the transition smooth is not about removing the challenge of school, because we can’t; it’s about helping your child develop coping strategies.


Make a School Countdown Calendar to cross-off the days until school starts, to avoid surprising your child with the big change.

Let’s Practise!

It’s useful to think about your child and what your child may find stressful, whether that be making new friends, catching the bus, or dealing with uncertainty. 

To help your child, practise these situations in advance to reduce the uncertainty, such as catching the bus, or walking to the school. See if you can organise play dates with some of the kids in their class. For little kids, practising putting on uniforms, school shoes, or opening their new lunch box or school bag can be important.

Hopefully you will have visited the school with your child to meet the teacher and get to know where the classrooms, play areas, toilets, and other important locations are.

Talk the Talk

If your kid’s school has Catalan and Spanish in the mix of languages, put cartoons on in those languages, or try to have a play date with a family who speaks those languages. Try to maintain their engagement with these languages through reading books, or watching cartoons in them throughout the holidays. If you have an intercultural family, and your parents or your partner’s parents are from Barcelona, get your child to have some time with the abuelos or primos to get back in to the language.

Buy workbooks for school in Spanish and Catalan for your child’s age group from Abacus Cooperativa.


Use Facebook forums for expats or international families in Barcelona as a way to see if you can connect with parents and kids who will be at the same school in the same year. Make a date at the local park!

Log on to the dashboard of the online class system if your school has it and, if it has the class members and names, you can look through the faces, and see if there are any new kids joining this year. You can chat with your child about the kids they know, or met in summer camp, or just notice how one kid has an interesting name or some feature that might be unique to help your kid feel, even if slightly, connected to their classmates. 

Get Organised

Get back to routine, including school time bed time and waking, as soon as you can, at least the few days before school starts. This is most important for little kids.

Teach Resilience

Get in to some basic coping strategies, including exercise, yoga, dancing, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and having lots of cuddles. Other strategies to try:

Breathing – encourage your child to breathe in through their nose as if smelling a yummy pizza; then breathe out as if they are cooling the pizza down. 

Using a Calm Down Kit – grab a shoe box and put things in that help your child find calm eg a favourite toy, a soft cloth, bubble blower, lavender oil, a shell to listen to the sea, a souvenir from a favourite holiday. Ask your child to find the things and help them decorate the box.

Reinforcing Strengths -Discuss with your child times they have made new friends or faced new challenges and reinforce their strengths.

Engaging in fun activities after school – ask your child what they would like to do and do some of those things with them when school begins.

Be There

Make the effort to take your child and pick your child up from the bus or school for the first couple of days to weeks. Ask how things are going, and schedule in time to have some fun or be together at home in the evenings so your child feels your presence in this transition. Arrange a fun outing to the park or a bike ride on the weekend to celebrate the first week back and a job well done. 

You can also draw love hearts on your wrists, both your wrist and your child’s wrist. Tell your child that, if you touch that heart during the day, you will be connected to one another even while you are separated! Listen to this story, The Kissing Hand, for inspiration. Check out this list of books on helping your child with separation anxiety.

Seek Balance and Connection Throughout the School Year

Please remember your kids don’t want much more from you than to be there and have fun with them. We’ll leave you with part of the TedX talk about How to Make Work-Life Balance Work by Nigel Marsh as a reminder of how the little things can be big things for our kids:

If you need support in any time of transition that you find challenging for your family, please get in touch with us so you can start working with one of our caring professionals.
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