Tips with the Analysts

Return to Learn: Tips to Facilitate a Successful Transition

Students in classroom

As the Holiday break concludes and both parents and today’s youth embark on establishing a fresh routine for the rest of the semester, here are five helpful tips to facilitate a successful transition back to in-person learning now that the semester is underway!

Establish a routine: It is important to gradually reintroduce school routines including setting regular bedtimes, waking up earlier, and incorporating effective study habits.

Encourage organizaion: Encourage youth to organize their backpacks and supplies to ensure they have everything they need for the upcoming semester. In addition, develop a family schedule or calendar to track essential dates and major project deadlines. Prioritizing time to review the upcoming week, noting important dates, extracurricular activities and other commitments can help your family operate smoothly and help everyone manage their time more effectively.

Open communication: Encourage youth to engage in an environment that provides support, making them feel at ease to openly share any worries or anxieties regarding their return to school. Inquire about their chosen classes, social circles, and extracurricular involvement, and collaboratively address any concerns to ease the burden of stress.

Plan for your health: Ensure youth have nutritious meals and snacks to fuel their learning. To save time, plan and prepare meals in advance to avoid adding tasks to busy mornings. In addition to eating healthy, promote positive sleep habits. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule along with creating a nighttime routine can ensure youth are getting enough rest.

Encourage social connections: Returning to school is an opportunity for students to reconnect with friends and classmates. Encourage your student to engage in social activities and foster positive relationships.

At Safer Schools Together (SST), we recognize that each family, parent/caregiver, and student are unique, so we recommend you adapt these tips as you see fit for your individual needs.

Check out our complimentary resource guide Raising Digitally Responsible Youth to further support ongoing dialogues with today’s youth on how to stay safe on the internet, on social media, in video games and more.

To learn more, visit

Navigating Challenges Associated with Holiday Breaks: Understanding the Impact on Youth Behavior, Online Safety, and Mental Health

While today’s youth encounter a range of holiday experiences, data suggests that these timeframes are not a positive experience for all young people, potentially leading to diverse effects on behavior and development.

For many students, school serves as a source of comfort, routine, and security. However, during the holidays, several challenges can arise that may include increased anxiety. These challenges often stem from changes in routine and increased isolation. The holiday season often acts as a predictable timeframe where Safer Schools Together (SST) notices an increase or shift in individuals’ behavioral baselines.

During these predictable timeframes, students who lack healthy connections to responsible adults may be vulnerable to negative influences, particularly those promoting worrisome online behavior. SST recognizes that increased screen time is a real concern for today’s youth and their online safety.  Heightened online activity during predictable timeframes can lead to increased exposure to cyberbullying/bullying, online harassment, and exploitation.

These timeframes may also lead to experimentation with drugs or alcohol which often occurs due to boredom, peer pressure, or an attempt to escape mental health challenges.

Cyberbullying/Bullying, Online Harassment, Exploitation:

Cyberbullying has become increasingly prevalent due to the rapidly evolving nature of digital communication, especially among today’s youth.

Cyberbullying has become increasingly prevalent due to the rapidly evolving nature of digital communication, especially among today’s youth. The validation of self-esteem, worth, and identity through online interactions may expose young people to the impact of cyberbullying on their mental well-being. SST has data that suggests there has been an increase in cyberbullying behavior among today’s youth.

Online harassment encompasses a broader spectrum of negative behaviors that go beyond the confines of bullying. It includes persistent, unwanted, and often malicious actions carried out through digital channels. Harassment can target individuals or groups based on various factors such as gender, race, religion, or personal beliefs.

The risk of exploitation can be heightened as individuals, particularly today’s youth, spend more time online. Exploitation can take various forms, including financial exploitation, sexual exploitation, or the manipulation of personal information for nefarious purposes.

Mental Health Challenges, Isolation, Loneliness, Anxiety, Depression:

Mental health challenges may escalate/evolve during predictable timeframes, particularly for youth disconnected from school activities. Isolation is a significant contributing factor to the exacerbation of mental health challenges. Individuals who experience isolation often lack meaningful social connections, which are crucial for emotional support and a sense of belonging. This isolation can be particularly pronounced during predictable timeframes, such as school breaks, holidays, or other times when regular social activities may be disrupted.

Additionally, predictable timeframes can lead to heightened anxiety levels. For youth disconnected from school activities during breaks, the lack of routine and social interactions may contribute to increased feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and depression.

Ensuring Digital Privacy:

Social media platforms are designed to facilitate the sharing of information and experiences. It’s easy to post a status update, a photo, an event, or a “check-in” with the click of a button.

Why do we overshare? Social media platforms are designed to facilitate the sharing of information and experiences. It’s easy to post a status update, a photo, an event, or a “check-in” with the click of a button.

During holidays, the frequency of oversharing tends to increase. Many individuals feel compelled to share their travel plans, experiences, or holiday festivities on social media. While this can be a way to connect with friends and family, it also raises concerns about the potential risks associated with sharing too much information, particularly regarding one’s whereabouts.

To mitigate potential security risks, individuals should adopt a mindful approach to social media sharing. This includes being selective about the information shared, adjusting privacy settings to control the audience for each post, and refraining from posting real-time updates about travel plans.

SST is committed to educating students, staff, parents/caregivers, and communities about online safety. Open dialogues between parents/caregivers or trusted adults and youth are crucial for addressing these issues. Positive adult role models in the community can significantly impact high-risk vulnerable youth through early identification and intervention. Encouraging youth to engage in sports, activities, school programs, and educational activities during predictable timeframes can help maintain routines and create positive environments. It is crucial to recognize the signs of mental health issues and implement strategies to address and prevent their escalation. Providing support systems, both within and outside educational settings, can help mitigate the impact of predictable timeframes. The collaboration of parents, schools, and community organizations in addressing these concerns and providing resources during predictable timeframes can have a substantial impact on young people.

SST has developed a complimentary resource guide designed to help introduce the major social media platforms, video games, and relevant trends that are either being used already or have the potential to be used by today’s youth: Raising Digitally Responsible Youth: A Parent’s Guide

To learn more, visit

Resources Regarding the Crisis in Ukraine

Many of you have reached out to ask if we have age-appropriate resources for supporting students regarding the crisis in Ukraine. The resources below provide tips for teachers and parents that we hope are helpful for your schools.

How to Talk to Kids About Violence, Crime, and War: Common Sense Media gathers tips and conversation starters to help you talk to kids of different ages about the toughest topics.

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of elementary school children: This article from the American Psychological Association can help adults guide their young children beyond fear and to resilience.

Resilience in a time of war: Tips for parents and teachers of middle school children: The American Psychological Association breaks out tips and strategies for parents and teachers of middle school-aged children.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources that can be filtered by topic or keyword and by audience with a focus on how adults can identify traumatic responses in young people and how to support them.


Trauma-informed practice is an essential element of many of Safer Schools Together’s professional training sessions. Please reach out to [email protected] if you would like to schedule a session for your school community.