Back-to-School Tips Every Parent Must Have

The ritual of back to school time is here once again. Although some students have already started their school year, most in our area don’t return to their classrooms until after Labor Day. What can parents do now to ensure a successful school year? Here are some back-to-school tips every parent must have. If I can answer another question you may have, just drop me a line at

How can parents get their kids into a school routine even before the year starts?

Use the last week of summer to get into a school day rhythm. Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning so that the transition to the early wake up time won’t be painful. Set up routines such as selecting clothes she’s going to wear and laying them out the night before.shutterstock_114896335

Do you have any tips for students transitioning into a new school, such as the start of middle or high school?

One major fear students transitioning into a new school, usually at the start of middle and high school, is getting lost on the way to class. Set aside time during the open house to practice the walk from the locker to each class, ideally three times. The more time your student spends getting familiar with his surroundings, the less stressed he’ll feel when the first day of school arrives.

More specifically, middle schoolers are using a locker for the first time and they’re petrified of forgetting the locker combination. Practice the locker combo at home until he can unlock it three times in a row from memory.

How about setting up homework routines?

Setting a routine for getting homework done is very important. If you’re the parent of a child with the “I’ll do it later” syndrome, setting a start time is key. There are essentially five times to start homework: right after school, after a 30 minute break, before dinner, after dinner, and right before bedtime.

Elementary students often need down time after school or when they return from their extra-curricular activities; about 30 minutes is usually sufficient. This is when homework should start.

It’s much harder to dictate an exact starting time to an adolescent. For older students, consider having the family policy that homework starts before dinner. This step in itself will greatly reduce late night stress when homework still isn’t complete.

Where exactly should kids be doing their homework?

Throw away the old idea that homework needs to be done in the same place each day. New research finds that it’s far more productive to vary the location. One day homework might be done in the dining room, another day the home office area, etc. Before school starts, sit down with your child and identify about three places in which homework can be completed.