Back-to-School: Tips For Parents From A Teacher

Elementary School Kids Group

Elementary School Kids Group

The beginning of a new school year can be an exciting and stressful time for parents and children. Whether your child is attending school for the first time, or transitioning to high school, your support is critical for success. Research continually states that parents play a major role in their child’s academic achievement.

Here are a few tips to start the Back-to-School season successfully.

1) Establish a routine

Traveling, late nights, and unpredictable schedules are typically a summer staple. However, it can be a disaster when it comes to your child’s success in school. As the summer ends, you can help your child get ready for school by sticking to a schedule. Setting firm times for dinner and bedtime, for example, will help your child get back into a routine.

Once school is back in session, prepare clothes, lunches, and backpacks the night before to avoid a “mad dash” in the morning.

2) Be Prepared

In the corporate world, few would think of going into a meeting without the proper tools. In the same manner, students must be prepared to succeed in school.

If your child’s school hosts an “Open House,” be sure to attend! This is a great way to ease Back-to-School jitters. “Open House” events often allow parents and children to meet with teachers, tour the school, and speak with administrators. In addition, many questions about the curriculum, transportation, and school expectations are answered during these events.

As a parent, it’s costly to spend money on school supplies. As a teacher, I suggest waiting until school begins to purchase major school supplies. On the first day of school, most teachers will review their expectations and specific list of items needed for class. By waiting, you avoid purchasing unnecessary items.

3) Set Goals

What does your child hope to achieve this school year? Talk with your child about their academic goals. Help your child to create a list of goals to work toward throughout the school year. Be sure to place the goals in a visible place where your child can review them regularly. As time progresses, review them and monitor progress with your child.

Some suggested review questions are:

  • How are you working toward achieving your goals?
  • What do you need to do better?
  • How will you continue to do well in school?

Depending on your child’s age, you may need to provide additional help, as needed.

Academic goal setting is an important practice that will allow your child to take responsibility and ownership of their education. In addition, it provides the necessary skills to become a critical thinker.

4) Be respectful

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your child morals and respect (Proverbs 22:6). Before school begins, have a serious conversation with your child about your expectations for peer and adult interactions at school. Let’s be real, kids will be kids, but disrespect should never be tolerated. Talk with your child about how to handle peer pressure, bullying, and potential problems with adults at the school. Help your child to know what to do and who to turn to for help.

5) Communicate

Are you concerned about a school project or grade? Is there something that we should know about your child? Say so! Great teachers and administrators are invested in your child’s success. By communicating your needs and concerns, we are able to partner with you. Expect to receive regular communication from your child’s teacher.

During the beginning of the school year, be sure to obtain the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of your child’s teacher and administrators. In the same manner, provide your best contact information to your child’s school.

Open communication is a major criteria for academic success.

6) Stay Involved

Whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, your involvement matters.

Consider joining the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or other parent support groups at your school.

In addition to being involved at school, be sure to regularly stay involved in your child’s study habits. Did your child turn in the project last week, or did they just tell you they did?  Ask questions about what your child is learning in school and stay on top of your child’s school assignments..

Depending on where you live, most states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Be familiar with what your child is learning at school, and how you can practice the strategies at home.

7) Read

Reading increases vocabulary and language skills. Whether books, magazines, or articles, encourage your child to read every day! Start a book club with your child or invite them to share what they’re learning with you. Ask critical thinking questions about the characters in the books. By reading a variety of genres and topics, your child will expand their thinking and increase their knowledge of the world.

This school year is going to be great for you and your child!

Sharisse M. Alexander

Sharisse M. Alexander is an educator and author of In His Presence. A graduate of Hampton University, Hampton, VA, she also received her Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from Wingate University, Charlotte, NC. Sharisse has worked in Christian ministry for several years and enjoys encouraging others in the Word of God.

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