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[Back to School] Parent Tips and Tricks for a Successful Start

[Back to School] Parent Tips and Tricks for a Successful Start

Now that it’s August, parents might be looking forward for their children to go back to school. It may be another story for children, as they are not ready for summer break to be over quite so soon. So to help ease both parent and children back into the school days, we’ve compiled some quick and practicable things you can start doing now to help ease the transition into the school year.


For students:

  1. Feeling nervous about starting a new school or a new grade? Visit your school before classes start with parents or with a friend. Explore your school campus together, and find all the important hot spots: the cafeteria, your locker, your classrooms, the gym, and the administrative office.
  2. Learn the morning route if you don’t get dropped off and need to take the bus, walk, or bike to school. Find out when the bus picks up and drops off. Practice biking or walking the routes to your school so that you don’t have to worry about getting lost on your first day.
  3. Get used to the sleep schedule for the school year. Avoid the post-summer grogginess of the first weeks of school by sleeping and waking up at the normal school time one to two weeks before school actually starts.
  4. Limit your screen time. Ease off the day-long Netflix binges, video game marathons, and mobile surfing, as extended periods of screen time can affect your sleep. Turn off your electronic devices before bedtime, and place them in a location away from your bed at night to ensure good sleep.
  5. Set up your study space. Clear off a study space for yourself that is in a quiet area of your house where you can focus. Make sure that it has all the homework essentials easily at hand: pens, pencils, paper, erasers, etc. Make sure that it is well lit; purchase a desk lamp if necessary.
  6. Complete school supply lists. Be sure that you have your latest school supply list, and fulfill it at least a week in advance before school so that you are not scrambling for the remaining items in the aisles of your local office supply stores.


For parents

  1. Work on food prep. Starting school brings with it a new eating routine. To help you with this, here’s a list of easy breakfasts that you can make for your child in the morning. Stock up your fridge and pantry with lunch essentials so that you or your child can quickly assemble a meal to take to school. Be sure to also have healthy snack options for when your child comes racing home from school ready to eat anything that’s just lying around.
  2. Touch base with your child’s future teachers. Reach out to the teacher(s) in person, or at the very least, sent an email to introduce yourself and establish a relationship with the teacher(s) before the school year begins.
  3. Attend any orientations together. Usually, before the school year begins, there are school orientations for parents and students. These are good opportunities for you to meet your child’s teachers and administrators in person and also for your child to get a feel for the school before classes actually start.
  4. Reconnect with other parents. Reach out to the parents of your child’s school friends. It never hurts to offer a helping hand or ask for help early on so that you know who you can turn to during the school year.
  5. Establish before-/after-school plans. Will your child come home by himself or herself? If so, do you have a “check-in” time for him or her to reach out to you while you’re at work? Do you need to arrange transportation to go somewhere after school? Hash out the details with your child so that you’re on the same page.
  6. Schedule a doctor’s visit. Make sure that your child’s vaccinations are up to date, and make sure that he or she has an annual physical exam. Also, address any emotional or social concerns that you or your child may have before the school year, and make any necessary accommodations for the school year together.
  7. Read to your child. While most parents read to their child as babies or in the younger elementary school days, did you know that most children ages 6 to 11 still enjoy read-aloud time? Have a time to bond with your child over a good book before the school year begins.


Other things you can do together

  1. Create a DIY project with your child before the first day of school. Decorate a pencil case, a binder, folders, or locker accessories together to help get your child excited for his or her first day of school.
  2. Set goals for the school year together. Check out our blog post on setting goals with your child, and help your child get in the right mindset before the school year starts.
  3. Invest in an online learning program. Find a program that can help give your child adequate practice based on what he or she will actually be learning in the upcoming school year. Study Island for Home is a perfect program to use to catch up or get ahead before the school year begins. The content is tailored to your state standards and provides practice opportunities for your child.


Need help keeping track of all that you need to do before school starts? Check out our free back to school checklist!'s picture
Elaine Ho
Elaine Ho studied Political Science and Education at the University of California, Berkeley and previously served in Americorps teaching and mentoring high school students. She is interested in connecting parents with the resources and information they need to help their children succeed. She also curates a free weekly newsletter called Beyond the Classroom, which collects the top need-to-know education news for parents.