The end of August not only marks the end of summer and the start of a colourful change of scenery, it also ushers in the beginning of a new school year for me and my fellow teachers. Back to work, back to new colleagues, new students and sometimes even a new class. And despite the freedom of the past few months spent in the warm sunshine, kids are usually eager to reconnect with their friends and, of course, meet their new teacher. The anticipation is intense: Will their friends be in their class? Will they like their teacher? In preparation for this change, here are five things for parents to do that will help make the return to school a little easier.

— Five tips from a teacher for successfully managing the back-to-school period —

1. Snacks

Before you get back into the school routine, I recommend preparing snacks with the help of your child. You can freeze them afterwards and you’ll always have some on hand to slip into his lunch box. Premade snacks can also be perfect for after school, when dinnertime can seem like it will never arrive.


2. Cook and review

Cooking with your child is the perfect opportunity to review basic math skills (greater, less than, equal to, etc.). Generally, my students appreciate it when their parents go over concepts with them that they have learned at school.

3. Routine

During the school year, I think it is important to create a structured routine with your child. A time to go to bed, to do homework and to get up, for example. I suggest that you establish this routine with your child right away. By making your expectations clear at the start of the school year, your child will know exactly what he needs to do. Plus, it’s a good way to avoid conflicts that don’t need to happen.


4. Talk

Speak with your child about going back to school. If he has concerns, reassure him. And query your child throughout the school year about his day. What is he doing at school? What did he like (or not like) about the day? We all enjoy it when others take an interest in us and how our day went. Dinnertime can offer a distraction-free moment to talk to your child.

5. Reward system

Having an emulation system at home can also be effective with some children. (An emulation system is a kind of positive discipline technique.) It's a good way to motivate your child while reinforcing proper behaviour. With this kind of system, emphasis is placed on positive points in order to increase a child's self-esteem. He is then more open to cooperating. Most of the time, these systems work very well.

Your teacher is your ally. Always keep in mind that teachers (and all school workers) and parents are allies. They must work together for the same purpose to ensure success. Do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher to speak about your worries and expectations. School staff members are there for you; but you must be there for them, too. Believe me, they need your input and collaboration! 


Here is wishing you all a great 2015–2016 school year!