8 Back-to-School Tips From School Psychologist, Dr. Dostillio

Written by Dr. Len Dostillio Psy.D. PA

August means school is right around the corner, but actually preparing for school is often the last thing on our minds.  School Psychologist, Dr. Len Dostillio put together some helpful tips to help  make the transition a little bit smoother for both parents and students.


    1. Bedtimes – Summer often means we get to stay up late and sleep in!  During the two weeks prior to school starting, slowly work toward their normal bedtimes.  
    2. Connect with Friends – Set up playdates and encourage your kids to connect with friends.  (If they tell you they talk to them through their headsets while playing a video game, let them know that does not count!)
    3. Talk about school and discuss concerns related to returning.  Once you identify a problem or concern, try to identify strategies to resolve the issue. This allows you to put a plan in place like downloading a relaxation app on their phone, role playing ways to express thoughts/feelings or reminding them when to ask for help.  
    4. Look back to plan forward – What were the obstacles last year?  How do they overcome them?  Remind them what worked and what did not help.  Brainstorm and problem solve.
    5. Organize/Prepare – Go through their clothing and donate things that don’t fit, establish a well-lit spot for homework, start picking up school supplies, purchase a dry erase board and hang it in their room, teach them how to make their own lunch, start putting clothing out the night before.
    6. Cell Phones – Have your kids charge their cell phones, tablets, ipods, ipads, etc outside the bedroom at night.  Remove the temptation to snapchat at 3am.  
    7. Support – Try to set up tutors, therapy appointments, etc ahead of time so you don’t have to scramble.  
    8. Still feeling anxious? Set up a time to sit down with your school’s Psychologist– Call during the first week of school and set up a time to meet.  Together you can begin working together on a plan for success.

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About the Author:

Dr. Len Dostillio Psy.D. PA is a Clinical Psychologist. He joined Centreville School in 2000 to teach a few of the Social Intelligence Classes in the Middle Level and his role grew from there. Now Dr. “D”, as the students call him, works at Centreville Layton School with students prek-12th five days a week.  He has worked on an Inpatient Adolescent and Adult Unit in a Residential Treatment Center and in Outpatient Therapy. He also has his own practice that will be moving from Dover to Centreville.


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