Parents: 7 Smart Back-to-School Tips for a Prosperous Year

Hooray! Summer vacation is ending and the school bells will be ringing soon. But don’t worry. Here are some tips to ensure that your child has the best school year ever:

1. Reestablish school routines.  About two weeks before school starts have your child wake up at the time he/she gets up when school is in session. This will prepare them so they won’t be so sleepy and tired when school begins. Begin talking with your child about the school routine and what is expected. Your child should report to school daily and on time. Instructional time is precious and every minute counts.

2. Go to the school and register your child for the upcoming school year.  The first day of school can be hectic so plan to register your child ahead of time. Make sure your child has the required vaccinations before school starts. The school should have all of the correct phone numbers to get in touch with you and in case of an emergency. It is a leader’s fear to not be able to contact a parent in a serious situation.

3. Attend open house to meet your child’s teacher. If your child has any medical conditions let the teacher know immediately. Schedule a conference with the teacher if you have things you want to discuss with her about your child. Keep in touch with the teacher via email, phone, or student agenda, which is used as a communication tool from school to home.

4. Discuss the importance of education with your child and how efforts lead to rewards. Learning begins at home. Instill in your child that it is imperative to become a lifelong learner and discuss with them your expectations about academics. Education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you. A quality education should be valued. Celebrate your child’s successes and academic achievements.

5. Limit TV time and video games. It is important to read nightly with your child for at least 30 minutes. Have your child read to you and you read to your child.   Ask questions for comprehension. Take your child to the library on a consistent basis and let him/her choose books that they want to read and on the correct level. Your child should get into the routine of reading. Reading should never be used as a punishment. Have a designated quiet area where your child can read and do his/her homework.

6. Become actively involved in your child’s education. Do not only visit the school when your child is in trouble. Remember the school is on your side. Do not let your child see you argue with the teacher. The child needs to see that you and the teacher are on the same team. You want to form a positive relationship with the school. You can become a volunteer, join the PTA/PTO, and have lunch with your child.

7. If your child is being bullied make an appointment with the Principal immediately. Bullying is a serious matter that can have devastating effects. Have conversations with your child about being bullied and know the signs if your child is being bullied.

Use these tips and have a positive school year.

Shanessa Fenner, Ph.D., (@ShanessaF) is an elementary principal.  She is a writer for several publications and has her own column in two of the publications: Cityview Family and Sheen Magazine. Dr. Fenner is also a print model, actress, songwriter and has her own local TV show, “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner.” Fenner has been featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelorettes, received numerous awards, and has been voted one of the most influential women.