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Class Action – Top 10 Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Being well prepared can help make going back to school easier on everyone. Photo courtesy of marquetteeducator.com.

The school bell has rung, beckoning children of all ages back to the halls of learning for yet another year of academic enhancement. For parents, getting a new school year off to a good start can help make a significant impact on their child’s confidence, performance and attitude both in the classroom and social situations.

However, the transition from summer break to the first days of school can be a bit difficult for children and parents alike. Establishing routines, adjusting to schedules and putting books over play can affect even the most eager students returning to class. Here are a few friendly tips to help parents ease the transition and promote a successful school experience for their book-bound brood:

1. Review – Your child’s teacher and school will send some important information about your child’s room number, school supply requirements, sign ups for after-school sports and activities, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms, volunteer opportunities and more. Be sure to go over this information thoroughly to avoid missing out on anything.

2. Routines – Plan to reestablish bedtime and mealtime routines at least a week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming overtired or overwhelmed by school work and activities. Include pre-bedtime reading and household chores if these were suspended during the summer.

3.  Clear Your Schedule – To the extent possible, postpone business trips, volunteer meetings and extra projects. You want to be free to help your child acclimate to the school routine and overcome the confusion or anxiety that many children experience at the start of a new school year.

4. Work Space – Be sure to designate and clear a place to do homework. Older children should have the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen to facilitate adult monitoring, supervision, and encouragement.

5. Anticipate Accidents – Accidents happen. For younger children, it is important to prepare a change of clothes in advance, and bring it with you on the first day of school for your child’s teacher to keep in the classroom. It is better to be safe than sorry.

6. Contact information – Get e-mail addresses from all your child’s teachers if possible. It is easy for teachers to type a quick note about issues as they arise and keep parents informed with short e-mails. Also, communication can help if you are unsure about any assignments or coursework.

7.  Remain Calm – The first few days back in school can be a little rough. Younger children in particular may experience separation anxiety or shyness initially, but teachers are trained to help them adjust. If you drop them off, try not to linger. Reassure them that you love them and will see them at the end of the day.

8.  Mark Your Calendar – Make a note of all important dates, especially back-to-school nights and days that require parental participation or special events. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations. Arrange for a babysitter now, if necessary.

9. Get involved – Getting involved in your child’s school is something that just about every parent is required to do. It is also a great way to get to know your children’s teachers and school administrators, and meet other parents. If your school has a parent teacher organization (PTO) or something similar, participate. You can also ask your child’s teacher or other school staff for ways you can volunteer and help out around the school.

10. Praise and Encourage – Your child is working hard to get an education. Make sure to praise them when they do well or excel at something. When they have trouble with something, practice with them and provide encouragement. Positive encouragement can go a long way.

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