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5 Tips to help your child start the school year right

Updated on July 14, 2013

More than the ABCs

Getting prepared!
Getting prepared! | Source
Read, Read, Read! What ever sparks an interest.
Read, Read, Read! What ever sparks an interest. | Source

It's a New School Year

Let's face it, at some point, you have to cross your weary fingers and let go, hoping that your baby, who is now taller than you, has been listening all these years and is now ready to showcase the sound decision making skills you have been attempting to engrave on her brain since birth. You will not be there in class with her to hold her hand so the existence of a supportive learning environment at home is more important than ever.

I am not a professional child psychologist, or a teacher, just another sleep deprived parent who has learned over the years, what works and what probably will not. So here are a few pointers, opinions and tips to help your child get off to a great start at school this year.

1.) Show interest in their school work

No matter what grade, how old, or how smart they think they are, communicate with your child on a regular basis and become involved in what they are doing in school. Ask to see their homework each night. That said, you may have to find a creative way to accomplish this so it doesn't turn into a negative nightly ritual. Please avoid this at all costs. Find a way to make homework fun, whether you make a favorite food beforehand or make it a special time each night that you spend with your child. It typically gets harder with age so it is really imperative to get off on the right foot by building that positive connection now!

2.) Set up a homework place

That said, it is important to set up a place where they can consistently do their homework each afternoon or night. If space is tight, here are some great ideas on how to create a homework space just about anywhere! It does not have to be anything elaborate but you might want to involve your student in creating a quiet, comfortable, and thought provoking space with their favorite colors and fun images for a bit of inspiration. It is important that there are not distractions however, like phones, tvs, music, other children or adults, etc. and it is best to make homework time the same time each day so it becomes a daily ritual. Plans should be made around this time so your child will always value the importance of learning and their assignments. If you do not emphasize the importance of this, they will probably not value it either -- a parent's beliefs are more important than many parents realize!

3.) Establish a positive relationship with their teacher(s)

Work with your child's teacher, not against her. You want a clear "learning is important" message to reach your child and in order to do this, you must maintain communication with your child's teacher(s). It can really be helpful for a teacher with 30 kids to know that your daughter listens better in the front row or your son has a problem understanding certain math concepts. Be proactive, and you will find that most teachers welcome this, even encourage parental involvement. Teachers do not have an easy job to start with so in your child's best interest, never let your child hear you say anything negative about the teacher, school, etc. You and the instructor should be working as a team and if the child even senses that you are not, their energy will not be on learning and it can actually sabotage educational goals, which is not doing your child any favors. Discuss any problems or potential concerns or conflicts away from the child, never in front of them.

4.) Read Read Read!

Even if they aren't on solid food yet, no matter! Well maybe that's pushing it but I do know several Mothers that read to their babes before birth -- no kidding! The fact that you enjoy reading and establish a fun story time frequently demonstrates its importance to you, and your child will no doubt emulate this. Set aside a day to go to the library and let your kids check out books that interest them. It will also make school and life easier! If reading is something that your preschooler is accustomed to, they will have an easier time adjusting once school starts and the assignments begin. My son hated reading because it was difficult for him so one of his teachers suggested that I find stories about things like "Bigfoot" or other such stories that would fascinate a 2nd or 3rd grade boy. A brilliant example of thinking outside the assigned box. She was a fabulous teacher and one won't always be that lucky but she taught me an important lesson, if the curriculum isn't working, work the curriculum! Mind you, she was a special education teacher and most likely an instructor with 25 kids may not have the time for this so you must be prepared to step in! Don't be afraid to try new things, anything that works spells progress!

5.) Get involved with the school!

I know that it can be very difficult if you are working outside the home but again, time to get creative. Know who your kid's friends are, where they live, chat with the parents. If at all possible spend time volunteering at your child's school. It will make you and your student feel more connected and a part of the educational process. Encourage them to sign up for sports, art, anything your student shows an interest for. Make sure to support it and emphasize the importance of sticking with it until the end, even if they want to quit the girl's basketball team after the 2nd night. There is so much more to learn than basketball and they are looking to you for guidance and as an example, so make sure that you too make an effort to become part of the educational experience. You just might learn more than you ever expected to!

If you have any suggestions or tips that have worked for you (or not), I would love to hear about them and add to this Hub, with proper credits of course. It seems that kids grow up so quickly and we all want to make the experience as painless and productive as possible, for everyone.

Reducing homework stress


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    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from California

      Thank you tillsontitan - If I only knew then what I know now....Seems like there ought to be some sort of mandatory instructions that come with the little bundle of joy. So glad you stopped by!!!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Voted up, useful, and interesting...these are things every parent should take to heart. You've stressed the most important things. Hopefully, new or young parents will read this and take your will definitely lead to a smoother ride.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thanks R. - so good to see you after my "busy break"! I must go over and see what you have been up to! Hope all is well!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Your 5 tips are important to keep in mind. Love the look at results oriented adults compared to kids who enjoy the process.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thanks for stopping in Vinaya! Even though you are not a parent yet, at least you will be prepared, if that is at all possible! I don't think anyone is ever really ready until it happens!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      Though I'm not a parent and know nothing about parenting, I enjoyed reading your article. I'm going to refer this to my sister, she needs to know this because her child is just about to begin school.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      I thank you for your wonderful feedback cebutouristspot! Kids really do go through so much that they don't need be confused further by parents and teachers that don't provide a united message! Cheers!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you so much VendettaVixon, especially for sharing your own experience in school, it is so important for teachers and parents to work together as much as possible~

      I am glad that you stopped by and commented, you are a very mature 18 no doubt!

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 6 years ago from Cebu

      Great tips. Parent need to read this hub as the information you have compile here is gold. Remember child is easily scare you dont want to scar them with regards to school.

    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 6 years ago from Ireland

      Excellent piece of work, Chatkath. I agree with everything you've said here, especially how it's important for parents to keep in touch with their child's teacher.

      I'm only out of school a year, but a few years ago I was going through an incredibly rough time - suffering from depression. None of my teachers were aware of this, and this made it worse in a way, so my mum and dad would talk to certain ones and just let them know how I was feeling every month. They were very understanding, and it did make things easier. That point doesn't just apply to parents of young kids.

      Also, I really can't say just how important it is to read with your kid from an early age. My dad was a fantastic story teller, and because of him I'll now read absolutely anything (except gossip rags). It helps a lot when studying. I'm eighteen now, and he still reads to me from time to time, except he's dropped the funny character voices. ;)

      Consider this hub shared, voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Hi Kitty- Not sure how I missed your comment! I am sure that your kids are as creative and engaged as you are, having a great role model is everything! I know so many parents who insist that their kids do well in school, citing themselves as the bad example! "Do as I say, not as I did" which unfortunately doesn't work very well. If a parent is involved in learning their children are more likely to accept learning into their life.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thanks Ardie- So important to be involved! Not always easy, especially when your kids tell you one thing and you hear something else from the teacher ;_ I am glad that you have taken such an active role, they will thank you in the end.....some day!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      I have always been involved with my kids and school just out of my own interest in what they're learning. Now that I volunteer in the school more I realize just how important it is to be involved, follow through on homework, and communicate well with the teachers. Great hub!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Voted up and awesome, Chatkath! It is so true that kids need their parents to back them and help them with their homework and show interest in the fact that they're in school altogether! I began reading to my daughter when she was just 2 months old and still read to her for at least twenty minutes a day. Usually I read her bedtime stories but sometimes I'll read her more books plus bedtime stories, depending on the time, etc. I also try to teach her her numbers by using our number magnets on the fridge. She hasn't quite remembered all of them, but she can point out most numbers (1-10) now.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      So good to see you Nell! No kidding, boys seem to have much more difficulty with reading, or maybe it's just males having a "concentration" problem with anything they aren't interested in- LOL

      It does make sense though, if the subject matter interests the reader, one is much more likely to absorb it...Hopefully, with maturity, the concept of reading even quite boring material develops...

      Thanks so much for coming by!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, this is brilliant, I love the idea of the homework place, perfect for getting your child to do it at the same time every night with no distractions, I noticed boys do take longer to learn to read because I used to do voluntary work at the school helping the children with their spelling and reading, so getting him to read something that really interests him is a great idea, wonderful stuff! cheers nell

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      I love that TSS - my daughter in law teaches too so I guess I am a bit sympathetic to what she goes through.... if the parents aren't on the same page as teachers it can really sabotage a kid's learning progress and so much of their success depends on parental involvement as you point out! Thanks for your first hand suggestions!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Super hints! As a teacher, I wish all parents followed your advice. Makes such a difference in their school performance. I agree with you about parent education. We offer monthly meetings on a variety of topics. Of course, we often are preaching to the choir. One school in my city requires their parents to attend a certain number of presentations during the year.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Hello RT, I couldn't agree more, if I only knew then what I know now... School is quite a learning experience for parents too, it's unfortunate that there is not more of an organized effort to educate parents as well kids, as parental involvement makes all the difference! Thanks for your feedback!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Hi Sharyn - Hope you are well - Thanks for taking the time to stop in. Must keep that sense of humor alive and well :-)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Important tips, Chatkath. Parents have more to do with their students being successful students than they realize. It starts early in life, and continues throughout their education by keeping tips like this in mind.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kathy,

      This piece is very well written with great tips. I, of course, love the little bit of humor thrown in too! Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you Prasetio, It is always such a pleasure to see you. Best of luck with school this year my friend!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      As a teacher, I give big appreciation to this hub. You have wonderful tips and we all happy to follow your advice. Thanks for writing this and share with us. Vote up!


    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you Eiddwen - Always so nice to see you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A great hub Chatkath and one I am sure will benefit many who read it.

      Take care


    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Hi Alicia- I couldn't agree more, it's like setting the tone for the rest of the year and for years to come - although kids never see it that way....Thanks for your comments!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you b. - I appreciate your feedback, we never forget those days do we?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your hub contains excellent ideas, Chatkath! It's important to start the school year off right to help the rest of the year go well. Voted useful.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Wonderful Hub, great Ideas...Brought back Memories of my boys and all that I worried about as a young mother. So well thought through and written Chatkah.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      That is so funny, Always Exploring, I think that we probably worry more than they do, especially at that young age they can be quite fearless! At least he was thoughtful enough to give you the signal that he'd be alright :-)

      So glad you stopped by, & thank you for your comments.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you Diana, so pleased that you had a chance to visit!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      So nice to see you Green Lotus - I must confess that school was never easy when my son was young, I think I learned as much as he did :-)

      Thanks so much for your comments...

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thanks Carrie- I used to love having stories read to me (still do) lol...I am so glad you had a chance to stop in!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Kathy, The steps you've listed are so important, kids need to know that we care. I remember when my Son started in the first grade, i spent a couple of hours with him in the class room, he then looked at me and said, " By Mama " Looking back, i know it was more me not wanting to leave him than him wanting me to stay. LOL, Thank you for a great article....

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Very good hub. I'm sure these tips will help many.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What terrific suggestions for parents and kids. Your kids a lucky to have you as their Mom! Voted up.

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Oh lovely hub chatkath!! m sure ur kids must have definately enjoyed doing their homework :) and their schooling life as well. (my mom had a real bad time making me study and do my home work) she used to readout to me since i was a child and i loved it!! but it had to be stories not out of the school books :))



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