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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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School starts for most kids next week – here’s what to know for the transition

On a warm Wednesday afternoon at Riverfront Park, parents were soaking in the sun while their children were getting soaked in the Rotary Fountain.

Just feet away at the Looff Carrousel, more kids were holding tight to their mounts – and the last days of summer, down to a handful.

For most students in Spokane, school begins next week, meaning new friends, new lessons and new routines.

It also inevitably means new sources of stress, from too few bathrooms before the first bell to the wrong condiments for junior’s favorite sandwich.

And oh, yeah: When does the school bus arrive?

“We’re going to have to get back in the swing of things,” said Sarah Welch, of Spokane, who was walking past the fountain with her 6-year-old twins, Oren and Kai.

A home-school family, the Welches aren’t fretting over bus schedules. But beginning next month, they’ll be on a fixed schedule.

“And we’re going to have a little less play time,” Oren said.

The key to success is a well-defined, well-explained transition.

“To help your child be successful, discuss what her morning routine will look like during the school year,” said Dr. D’Arcy Lyness for

“This way, your child knows what will be happening and has clear expectations that are valuable to her under the time pressure of getting ready for school,” Lyness said.

A successful school day begins the previous night, said Lyness, who added that “setting time limits can be a great way to put a boundary around the winding down time that they need each evening.”

However, some families are ready to hit the school year running.

After months of trying, Spokane resident Dominika Piastucha and her 12-year-old son, Rafael, finally made it to Riverfront Park on Wednesday.

“This was a day I wanted to enjoy with him for the first time this summer,” Dominika said. “We’ve had sports all summer long.”

Like many children, Rafael, a football lineman, has been on a rigid schedule all summer.

“I’m ready to go back,” said Rafael, whose biggest transition will be from the private All Saints Catholic School to sixth grade at Hamblen Elementary.

“I’m excited,” said Rafael, who as an athlete is ahead of the game when it comes to transitioning to fall. He’s up early and getting plenty of fluids.

That’s one of the biggest keys to success, said Rebecca Doughty, director of health services for Spokane Public Schools.

“Drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals,” Doughty said. “It will still be hot the first month of school, and kids forget to stay hydrated during the school day.

“Also, getting up a little earlier each day and heading to bed a little earlier each night will make those first days of school much easier.”

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