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Preparing for a New School Year: Adjusting to School

​This information is included in our Guide to Back to School. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

Children spend half ​of their waking hours in school or school-related activities. Studies show that children whose parents are involved in their education do better in school than children whose parents are not involved.

There are many ways you can promote and encourage your child to do well in school and make the adjustments that come with starting a new school year. Here are a few pointers for helping your child develop positive school-year attitudes and practices.

Establish effective communication with your child's school.

  • Start communication when things are going well with your child; don't wait until there is a problem. Compliment your child's teacher through notes or phone conversations.
  • When there are problems, share concerns while the problems are small. Offer to work with school staff (your child's teacher, an administrator) to find solutions.
  • When attending school activities, take a written list of questions or concerns you want to address.
  • Join the PTA or volunteer to help with activities in your child's classroom. This will provide opportunities to be more involved in your child's world at school.

Consistently and frequently encourage and guide your child.

  • Show your child you value education by setting aside time to talk about homework and what's happening in your child's classroom.
  • Praise and reward your child for school successes (good grades on tests and homework assignments, good behavior in class).
  • Don't protect your child from negative consequences that result from failing to complete homework or not studying for tests. Making mistakes is a major way children learn how to cope successfully with the demands of school and life. Provide assistance and support when things aren't going well for your child.

Display a love of learning at home.

  • To fuel your child's natural interest and curiosity, celebrate learning. Ask questions, exchange ideas and allow your child to arrive at his or her own conclusions.

Create a home environment that is rich in books, educational games and projects that challenge your child. Above all, let your child see how much you enjoy learning challenges and activities.